Trump strategist and member of the NSC principles committee Steven Bannon said the United States and China will be locked in war over islands in the South China Sea within ten years.
Steve Bannon: 'we're going to war in the South China Sea … no doubt' https://t.co/tdnObBaJSF
— The Guardian (@guardian) February 2, 2017
The remarks were made nine months ago, reports The Guardian.
“We’re going to war in the South China Sea in five to 10 years,” he said in March 2016. “There’s no doubt about that. They’re taking their sandbars and making basically stationary aircraft carriers and putting missiles on those. They come here to the United States in front of our face—and you understand how important face is—and say it’s an ancient territorial sea.”
Last month Trump’s recently confirmed secretary of state Rex Tillerson warned China off the man-made islands it has built in the South China Sea.
“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 is not going to be allowed,” Tillerson said during his confirmation hearing. “They are taking territory or control or declaring control of territories that are not rightfully China’s.”
Tillerson did not elaborate on what measures the US might take. If it deploys warships to prevent China from access the islands, a military confrontation between the nuclear powers is likely.
Trump’s press secretary also said the US will stop China from taking over territory.
Sean Spicer said “the US is going to make sure that we protect our interests there,” when asked about US President Donald Trump’s position on the South China Sea. “It’s a question of if those islands are in fact in international waters and not part of China proper, then yeah, we’re going to make sure that we defend international territories from being taken over by one country,”
Last week a senior Chinese military official said war with the United States is “not just a slogan” but a “practical reality.” The remarks were published on the People’s Liberation Army website.
China is preparing for a confrontation. In late January the People’s Daily said the country will conduct military exercises on the high seas. Last month China’s only aircraft carrier Liaoning passed through the Taiwan Strait.