Dynamics of the Trump Administration’s Policy on the South China Sea

China International Studies (English) - - Contents - Su Xiaohui

Trump’s South China Sea policy is now returning to balance and rationality following the initial tough stance that caused concern. The US will continue to meddle in the disputes, but it will be more difficult to influence the situation as regional actors adjust their policy objectives.

The domestic and foreign policies of the United States have witnessed significant changes over the year since Donald Trump was inaugurated as the US President. On the South China Sea issue, the tough stance that Trump and his policy team once signaled has caused concern by relevant parties about the overall situation and the China-us relations.

Generally speaking, despite their close watch on China’s actions in the South China Sea, Trump and his policy team lack comprehensive and in-depth understanding of the issue, which means a risk of misjudgment. On the other hand, it seems that the South China Sea is not a priority for the president who was elected under an “America First” platform. Therefore, an analysis of the direction and influence of the US South China Sea policy under the new administration is of great significance for China to safeguard its sovereignty and maritime rights and help maintain regional stability.

The US Judgment and Actions in the South China Sea

The US government maintains that China intends to firmly control the South China Sea in the long term, and that the US has failed to effectively respond to China’s relevant actions.

China’s increasing control of the South China Sea

As far as the United States is concerned, China has become increasingly Su Xiaohui is Associate Research Fellow and Deputy Director of the Department for International Strategic Studies, China Institute of International Studies (CIIS).

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