China Fires Back After Tillerson Comments05:50
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Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson gestures while testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. (Steve Helber/AP)
Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson gestures while testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. (Steve Helber/AP)
This article is more than 2 years old.

State media in China says any U.S. attempt to block access to its artificial islands in the South China Sea could spark a devastating confrontation. During his confirmation hearing this week Rex Tillerson, Trump's pick for secretary of state, said the U.S. should force China to stop the island building and block access to the islands that are already built.

Accusing Beijing of "declaring control of territories that are not rightfully China's," Tillerson compared its island-building efforts and deployment of military assets on the islands to Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson hears more about how China is reacting from NPR correspondent Rob Schmitz (@rob_schmitz), who is based in Shanghai.

With reporting from The Associated Press

This segment aired on January 13, 2017.

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