Militarization of the South China Sea & Trade
The National Security Advisor to President Trump may have laid out a new stumbling block for trade negotiations with China on CBS's Face-the-Nation Sunday. Host Margaret Brennan asked Robert O'Brien, who just returned from the ASEAN trade conference, if December was a hard date for getting a trade deal with China. O'Brien said there was no deadline and then went on, "We want great relations with China but this is the first President that has stood up to China for stealing American intellectual property, not allowing American companies to access Chinese markets, and engaging in unfair trade practices. That has to come to an end because the Chinese have been using that to fund one of the most massive military buildups in history and that has to come to a stop."
O'Brien has been raising concerns about militarization of the South China Sea. Trump's security advisor, when asked by Face-the-Nation, would not separate the issue from the current trade negotiations but rather opted to outline the trade route issue, "This nine-dash-line or cows-tongue that the Chinese have drawn around the entire South China Sea, which is a major swath of the Pacific Ocean and claimed it as internal waters as if it is Lake Tahoe or something, cannot stand. The United States Navy won't put up with it. The countries in the region won't put up with it. And all of those countries, with very few exceptions, are grateful America is standing up for them and standing up for there resource patrimony. That is the future for their kids and grandchildren; the oil and the gas and the fisheries and the minerals off their shores. China shouldn't be allowed to take it just because they are bigger."
For his part, last Friday, President Trump threw cold water on increasing hopes over a trade deal with China. China wants the U.S. to roll back current tariffs but the President is still holding the line.