WASHINGTON — Pressure on China over its claims to most of the strategic South China Sea went up a couple of notches this week. First, the U.S. sent a warship in its most direct challenge yet to Beijing’s artificial island building. Then over Chinese objections, an international tribunal ruled it had jurisdiction in a case brought by the Philippines on maritime claims.
Neither action appeared likely to stop China in its tracks, as it seeks to assert its control over resource-rich waters that it considers vital to its security. Beijing is expected to put a higher priority on what it sees as its strategic interests than its international reputation.