Obama was 'impotent' about South China Sea, says Trump

Anjana Raghav

Obama was

10 Oct 2018: Obama was 'impotent' about South China Sea, says Trump

US President Donald Trump today slammed his predecessor Barack Obama for being "impotent" and not stopping China from expanding its influence in the South China Sea, saying the Chinese Navy was now posing a confrontational challenge for the US in the disputed region.

He remark came during an interaction with reporters aboard Air Force One, a US Air Force aircraft that carries the President.

Territorial fight: Possible dispute reason? South, East China Seas rich in resources

Trump's remarks came hours after he was briefed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about his recent meeting in Beijing with the top Chinese leadership.

China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in South China Sea, and with Japan in East China Sea.

Both areas are stated to be rich in minerals, oil, and natural resources and also vital to global trade.

Purpose: US conducts regular patrols in SCS to assert navigation freedom

China claims almost all of the South China Sea. However, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counterclaims over the area.

The US has been conducting regular patrols in the South China Sea (SCS) to assert freedom of navigation in the area where Beijing has built up and militarized many of the islands and reefs it controls in the region.

Trump claims: 'Pompeo-Beijing meet not great but he was treated with respect'

When Pompeo was in Beijing, Trump had remarked that China was sending a message to him, but those didn't work.

However, Pompeo was treated with great respect during his trip, he said, although the meetings were not so great.

"It wasn't much. I guess he was giving them a message, and they were giving him a message to come back to me," he claimed.

US-China ties: State Department Spokesperson counters Trump's claims on Beijing talks

However, countering Trump's claims, State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters that Pompeo had a good, constructive meeting with his Chinese counterparts.

"They are certainly a competitor. It's a complex and broad-based relationship that we have with China, as you all saw in the comments and exchanges between the Secretary and his counterparts. North Korea is one our areas of common interest," Nauert said.

Fact: 'We need to work hard to maintain relationship with China'

"Working to combat illegal narcotics is another area where we work well together. We also have areas of disagreement and areas where we've challenges, and we'll keep working together on that. It's obviously an important relationship we need to work hard to maintain," Heather said.