‘Room for sanctions’: Top US diplomat for East Asia threatens to respond to Beijing over South China Sea
The top US diplomat for East Asia said on Tuesday that Washington could respond with sanctions against Chinese officials and enterprises involved in “coercion in the South China Sea.”
“Nothing is off the table… there is room for that. This is a language the Chinese understand – demonstrative and tangible action,” Reuters quoted David Stilwell, the assistant secretary of state for East Asia, as telling a Washington think tank. The diplomat was answering a question if sanctions were a possible US response to Chinese actions.
Stilwell spoke a day after the United States rejected China’s claims to offshore resources in most of the South China Sea as “completely unlawful.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian earlier on Tuesday condemned the US rejection of Beijing’s claim. “It intentionally stirs up controversy over maritime sovereignty claims, destroys regional peace and stability and is an irresponsible act,” he said.