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>> A bold statement guaranteed to make blood boil in Beijing.>> We're going to have to send China a clear signal that first, the island building stops, and second, your access to those islands also not going to be allowed.>> Donald Trump's U.S. Secretary of State nominee, Rex Tillerson, sending a deeply provocative message over the bitterly disputed South China Sea.
But as Reuter's reporter, Michael Martina explains, Beijing's comeback was surprisingly restrained. China's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang today, wouldn't be drawn into any pointed comments. And essentially repeated China's long-held stance on the South China Sea, that it has the right to do what it sees fit. I think this is another indication that China wants to avoid matching the heightened rhetoric that's coming from Trump and his appointees.
And steer away from any escalation intention as much as possible.>> The contested South China Sea is a hot battle issue for Beijing and Washington. Whether Tillerson's comments was pre-inauguration showmanship or a move to push China's buttons isn't clear. Either way, in the eyes of Beijing, now is not the time for hot headed responses.
Beijing seems insistent at least in public on restraining its responses to the point of comments coming out of Washington, and seems to want to wait until Trump and his people actually take office to see if that pattern of rhetoric will continue.>> America's military presence in the region has already infuriated China
>> And any call to block access to the reefs and islands that it's built up is sure to twist the knife. Adding insult to injury, Tillerson said the US needs to reaffirm it's commitment to Taiwan, a flashpoint of high tension right now with the Chinese main land.