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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

Kate Marino, author of Markets
Oct 19, 2021 - Economy & Business

Housing slowdown threatens China's economic muscle

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

China Evergrande and a growing group of Chinese housing developers are inching toward defaulting on their debt.

Why it matters: While that's unlikely to cause a crisis of Lehman proportions, as Axios’ Felix Salmon has reported, just how much China's real estate sector cools could impact the nation's role as a growth driver for companies around the world.

Oct 19, 2021 - Podcasts

A new Cold War brewing?

The Financial Times recently reported that China launched a possible nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August. The possible missile launch drew comparisons to the Soviet Union's 1957 launch of the Sputnik satellite.

But it’s complicated. China says it was a routine spacecraft test, but the launch caught U.S. intelligence by surprise, according to the Financial Times.

Is calling this a new Cold War the right way to think about it?

Axios Re:Cap talks with Axios’ China reporter Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian on what all this means for U.S.-China relations.

Oct 19, 2021 - Podcasts

Why China’s hypersonic missile test matters for the U.S.

China tested a hypersonic missile last August, according to new reporting from the Financial Times. China says it wasn't a nuclear-capable missile, but a routine spacecraft check. So how worried should we be?

  • Plus, more tension between the Joes: Biden and Manchin.
  • And, remembering former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Guests: Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian and Hans Nichols.

Credits: Axios Today is produced in partnership with Pushkin Industries. The team includes Niala Boodhoo, Sara Kehaulani Goo, Dan Bobkoff, Alexandra Botti, Nuria Marquez Martinez, Sabeena Singhani, Alex Sugiura, Lydia McMullen-Laird, Michael Hanf, and David Toledo. Music is composed by Evan Viola. You can reach us at podcasts@axios.com. You can text questions, comments and story ideas to Niala as a text or voice memo to 202-918-4893.

Go deeper: