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South China Sea

Asia greets US shift on South China Sea with hope and doubt

Skepticism lingers regarding Washington's commitment to the region

U.S. Navy Cmdr. Joseph "CAPS" Hubley conducts a passing exercise in an F/A-18E Super Hornet in the South China Sea on July 7. (U.S. Navy photo via Reuters)

NEW YORK/HANOI -- The U.S. government doubled down Tuesday on its rejection of Chinese maritime claims in the South China Sea, with a senior official warning that Washington could respond with sanctions against Chinese officials and enterprises for coercive acts. 

"By claiming 'indisputable sovereignty' over an area larger than the Mediterranean and trampling the rights of others, Beijing threatens the existing order that has given Asia decades of prosperity," said David Stilwell, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, at a virtual event hosted by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

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