(PatriotWise.com)- The Biden administration shocked the world this weekend when they — gasp — agreed with a Trump administration ruling.
On Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken upheld a rejection of almost all of the significant maritime claims China is alleging in the South China Sea. The Biden administration reiterated a stern warning that any attack from China on the Philippines would garner a significant response from the United States, per a mutual defense treaty.
Five years ago Sunday, an international tribunal ruled in the Philippines’ favor over maritime claims made by China for the area around the Spratly Island, as well as shoals and reefs in the area. China has rejected that ruling.
Last year, the Trump administration said it supported the ruling, but went a step further. They rejected almost all of China’s maritime claims to the South China Sea, outside waters that are internationally recognized to be China’s.
Blinken then reaffirmed that position, which was originally put in place by his predecessor, Mike Pompeo.
In a statement released Sunday, Blinken said:
“Nowhere is the rules-based maritime order under greater threat than in the South China Sea.”
He accused the Communist country of continuing “to coerce and intimidate Southeast Asian coastal states, threatening freedom of navigation in this critical global throughway.”
Blinken continued to reference Pompeo’s statement from last year when he said:
“The United States reaffirms its July 13, 2020, policy regarding maritime claims in the South China Sea. We also reaffirm that an armed attack on Philippine armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the South China Sea would invoke U.S. mutual defense commitments.”
The treaty, which was signed way back in 1951, requires both countries to aid each other if there’s ever an attack.
Before Pompeo changed the U.S.’ stance last year, American policy was to insist all disputes that were maritime in nature between China and any of its neighbors be handled peacefully by an arbitration process that was backed by the United Nations.
The new shift in policy, though, doesn’t apply to any dispute over a land feature that is above sea level. That would fall under “territorial” disputes.
The U.S. has remained neutral in those territorial disputes, but has backed smaller countries such as Brunei, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia in maritime disputes over contested reefs, islands and shoals in the South China Sea.
China was not too keen on the Trump administration, and it isn’t expected to react positively to the Biden administration decision, either.
China dismissed the decision by the international tribunal as a “sham.” They’ve since refused to have anything to do with arbitration proceedings after the ruling.
In addition, the country still defies the decision by acting aggressively in the region. That’s caused spats over maritime territory with the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam in recent years.
China believes it owns the entire South China Sea, objecting to all actions taken by any other country’s military in that region. The problem is that five other governments have claims to parts of the sea, where roughly $5 trillion worth of goods are shipped each year.