U.S. officials say the Trump administration is poised to escalate its actions against China by stepping squarely into one of the most sensitive regional issues dividing them and rejecting outright nearly all of Beijing's significant maritime claims in the South China Sea.
In a move the officials say is expected as early as Monday, the administration will present the decision as an attempt to curb China's increasing assertiveness in the region with a commitment to recognizing international law.
But it will almost certainly have the more immediate effect of further infuriating the Chinese, who are already retaliating against numerous U.S. sanctions and other penalties on other matters.
A demand or request for something considered one's due.
China has sought to shore up its claim to the South China Sea by building military bases on coral atolls, leading the U.S. to sail warships through the region in what it calls freedom of operation missions.