In a private speech shortly after leaving her post as Secretary of State, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton reportedly asserted that China has “a right to assert themselves” with regard to the South China Sea, a region in which the communist government has usurped the sovereign territory of six countries.
Clinton’s statement has been released as part of a compilation of excerpts from private speeches she gave between 2013-2016 by the organization Wikileaks. “The Clinton campaign would not confirm the authenticity of any of the documents but has not disputed the contents,” CNN reported upon their release last week.
In a speech to Goldman Sachs in October 2013, Clinton told the audience that China “basically wants to control” the entire South China Sea, a multi-billion-dollar trade route connecting much of Asia. “48 percent of the world’s trade, obviously that includes energy but includes everything else, goes through the South China Sea,” she said. Of China’s attempts to control the entire body of water, Clinton appeared forgiving.