Speaking today at the Center for a New American Security, Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken stepped up hostile rhetoric against China, lashing their island building in the South China Sea as a ‘threat to peace and stability,” and terming it a “transgression” akin to Russia’s support for Eastern Ukrainian rebels.
Blinken insisted the world would unite against China for building the islands, and demanded that China freeze all activities in the region “in accordance with the rule of law.”
While China’s claim to the region in which the islands are being built is disputed, there is nothing within international law to preclude China from building new islands outside of its own territorial waters at any rate. The US has condemned the construction repeatedly, and deployed warships and military drones to “challenge” the construction.
China is one of several nations with overlapping claims in the South China Sea, and while the US is nominally neutral on the matter, they have in practice backed everyone’s claims except for China’s. China has insisted they are nearly completed with their building at any rate, so the latest round of US demands to stop are likely just an attempt to take credit for it when the halt finally happens.