US will not allow China to “coerce” nations in Asia

Vastavam web: The US will not allow China to “bully” or “coerce” nations in Asia, a senior Trump administration official has said, amidst Beijing flexing its muscles in the region.The Trump administration has made clear that the US wants a “productive” relationship with China, and the two countries must work to manage and resolve differences, Susan Thornton, Acting Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during her confirmation hearing.If the international system that has enabled China’s rise is to continue, then rules and standards must be observed and countries must not be bullied or threatened, but treated as equal players, Thornton said.

The administration, under Trump’s leadership, is working to expand and deepen partnerships throughout the region via the Indo-Pacific strategy, she said.The Asia Pacific region has a “very real security” and economic challenges, including the menacing threat of North Korea, the rise of an authoritarian China, and the spread of terrorism and extremism, she said.

Although the region has enjoyed peace and growing prosperity for years, the threat from North Korea continues to increase, tensions and extremism are on the rise, and the export-led model that underpinned, Thornton said.Backsliding on democracy, governance and corruption, and human rights is also undermining prospects for stability and growth in some countries, she told the lawmakers.China is involved in a widening maritime dispute with several Southeast Asian countries over islands in the resource-rich South China Sea