China is angered by official visits to Taiwan by American officials:

Threatening the “One China” policy where independent Taiwan and occupied Tibet are regarded as part of China, may be the best bargaining chip Trump has for forcing their withdrawal from Philippine islands in the South China Sea. Recognising Taiwan as an independent nation would infuriate China, about as much as their destroying reefs in other countries’ territory in order to build Chinese military bases there infuriates their neighbours. China’s military expansion and bullying behaviour in the region calls for a coordinated response from America, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and, to a lesser degree Brunei, as China is claiming Islands well outside its territorial waters, and well within its neighbours’ territories. The map shows China’s claims which would be laughable if it wasn’t the largest military force in the area, with a history of taking what it wants, by force.

An estimated US$5 trillion worth of global trade passes through the South China Sea and many non-claimant states want the South China Sea to remain international waters. To promote this, several States, including the United States, conduct “freedom of navigation” operations there. It is vital to international trade that the sea remains international waters.

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