The United States is again ramping up pressure on China over its territorial claims in the South China Sea, calling Beijing's moves "completely unlawful."
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Monday that Washington will no longer tolerate Beijing's attempts to establish a maritime empire in the region.
The U.S. has long opposed China's territorial claims to the South China Sea.
It even sends U.S. warships through the region on a regular basis.
China has overlapping claims with countries including Philippines and Malaysia over the area, through which some three trillion U.S. dollars worth of trade passes annually.
Washington-Beijing ties have grown increasingly frosty over the past several months due to China's handling of COVID-19 and its tightening grip on Hong Kong.