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Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a June joint press conference in Berlin, Germany. Photo: Clemens Bilan - Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration on Sunday reaffirmed a Trump-era policy rejecting the Chinese government's territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Why it matters: Secretary of State Antony Blinken's firm statement comes ahead of this week's fifth anniversary of an international tribunal's ruling backing the Philippines' government against the Chinese Communist Party's maritime claims in the region.

  • China's government has ignored the ruling, and its "aggression" in the South China Sea is hurting the livelihoods of Filipinos who've fished in the region for years, the New York Times reports.

What they're saying: "Nowhere is the rules-based maritime order under greater threat than in the South China Sea," Blinken said. "The People's Republic of China (PRC) continues to coerce and intimidate Southeast Asian coastal states, threatening freedom of navigation in this critical global throughway."

  • "The United States reaffirms its July 13, 2020 policy regarding maritime claims in the South China Sea," he continued, referring to a statement issued by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
"We also reaffirm that an armed attack on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the South China Sea would invoke U.S. mutual defense commitments."

The big picture: Before the Trump administration's announcement last year, the U.S. position was to "insist that maritime disputes between China and its smaller neighbors be resolved peacefully through UN-backed arbitration," AP notes.

Go deeper

Chinese regulators outlaw crypto in latest crackdown

A man walks past a mall in Beijing. Photo: Wang Zhao/AFP via Getty Images

Regulators in China are tightening their grip on industries at a dizzying pace — ratcheting up pressure that’s spared few sectors.

Driving the news: The country’s most powerful regulators banded together for the first time to outlaw all cryptocurrency activity on Friday, Reuters reports — intensifying its years-long war.

Stock buybacks boom as corporate cash piles grow

The Delta variant is keeping more companies cautious about how to invest the mountains of cash they have at their disposal. That hesitancy has led, in part, to corporate spending on stock buybacks outpacing capital expenditures this year. 

Why it matters: Companies hoarded cash and raised prices over the past year — leaving them with a lot of money and decisions about what to do with it.

3 hours ago - Health

Health policies at stake in Democrats' infrastructure bet

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Democrats are at a pivotal moment in their quest to expand health care coverage, slash the cost of prescription drugs and create a social structure that prioritizes people's health.

Driving the news: Democrats have a clear list of health care priorities they'll be fighting for this week. Among them is a measure to expand Medicare to cover dental, vision and hearing benefits.