In the past couple weeks, Washington’s tone on China has gotten noticeably tougher. In a speech Oct. 4, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence outlined a litany of grievances with China – from trade to technology theft to Beijing’s purported attempts to put the political hurt on Donald Trump. He didn’t shy away from the areas where U.S. and Chinese military ambitions are bumping up against each other, either, giving special attention to Chinese expansionism in the South and East China seas. This followed a Sept. 24 report in Axios, in which unnamed White House officials touted an impending administrationwide pressure campaign against China, involving the departments of Treasury, Commerce and Defense. And on the same day as Pence’s speech, unnamed Pentagon officials told CNN that the U.S. Navy was preparing to do its part, formulating plans to carry out a “global show of force” to counter Chinese military actions, starting next month.
U.S. activity in waters China claims as its