(AP) - The Trump administration vowed Monday to defend territories that are in international waters, including those in the South China Sea.
Responding to a question about China's claims over islands in the disputed area, Trump administration press secretary Sean Spicer says that "we are going to make sure we defend international territories."
China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters crucial for global commerce and rich in fish and potential oil and gas reserves.
Trump ruffled feathers with China early after his Election Day victory, calling the leader of Taiwan and breaking the longstanding tradition of maintaining unofficial ties with the self-governing island.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.