US, China Trade Criticisms as Tensions Worsen

China threatens retaliation over illegal US sanctions

Tit-for-tat criticisms and threatened retaliations continue in the ever-worsen US-China relationship, with US officials vowing not to cede an inch in China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Wednesday saw China firing missiles into the South China Sea to warn the US over its recent interruption of a military exercise in the area. The US responded with new sanctions on Chinese officials, which China referred to as illegal, and threatened “firm” retaliatory measures.

The Pentagon responded that the missile fire threatened stability in the area, and was in violation of a Chinese commitment not to destabilize the situation in the South China Sea. Clearly, China views its moves as an attempt to stabilize the situation there amid US activities.

Tensions between the US and China have been on the rise for months, with South China Sea remaining a big point of contention. Several nations have conflicting claims there, and the US accepts every nation’s claim so long as it conflicts with China’s.

Between the sea, Taiwan, and economic interests, the two sides have a seemingly endless source of grievances and opportunities to keep making things just a little worse. The danger that the two sides are going to find themselves in open conflict is growing, with neither side looking to take a step back and cool things down.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.