The new U.S. administration of President Donald Trump vowed on Monday that the United States would prevent China from taking over territory in international waters in the South China Sea.

The comments at a briefing from White House spokesman Sean Spicer signaled a sharp departure from years of cautious U.S. handling of China’s assertive pursuit of territory claims in Asia, just days after Trump took office on Friday.

sean spicer“I think the U.S. is going to make sure that we protect our interests there,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer told a news briefing.

“It’s a question of if those islands are in fact in international waters and not part of China proper, then yeah, we’re going to make sure that we defend international territories from being taken over by one country.”

“I think, as we develop further, we’ll have more information on it,” Spicer respond to a question when asked how the U.S. could enforce such a move against China.