WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is escalating its actions against China by stepping squarely into one of the most sensitive regional issues dividing them and outright rejecting nearly all of Beijing’s significant maritime claims in the South China Sea.

In an announcement on Monday, the administration presented the decision as an attempt to try to curb China’s increasing assertiveness in the region with a commitment to recognizing international law.

But it will almost certainly further infuriate the Chinese, who are already retaliating against numerous U.S. sanctions and other penalties on other matters.

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