While President-elect Donald Trump was holding a press conference during which he denounced accusations of alleged “Russian blackmail” against him as “a disgrace”, Exxon Mobil former CEO Rex Tillerson was answering Senators’ questions in view of his confirmation to the most prominent post of the next presidential administration, that is Secretary of State.
If Russia was of course at the center of the hearing which showed the ongoing ideological gap within the GOP between the neo-conservatives and the realists, this is chiefly the questions about China that drew Cyceon’s attention. Trump repeatedly introduced the world’s second largest economy as America’s main geopolitical “issue” in trade as in military matters.
Tillerson confirmed when he said that “We’re going to have to send China a clear signal.” Firstly with the halt of the buildings allegedly of military purpose on a number of small islands across the South China Sea. Secondly with barring China’s from access to those islands. These two priorities, if they were enforced, would confirm the significant potential of tension between the United States and China.
Impeding the maritime circulation of a country necessarily involving a coercive presence, the at least theoretical risk of a military conflict would increase significantly. Sino-American relations could therefore become the main source of international tension over the next four years, possibly generating adverse volatility in global economy.