Adding to his image of a tough president, right here…

Via The Hill:

President Obama said Thursday his White House is worried that China is taking advantage of its size and military to bully smaller nations in the South China Sea.

“Where we get concerned with China is where it is not necessarily abiding by international norms and rules and is using its sheer size and muscle to force countries into subordinate positions,” Obama said at a town-hall meeting in Jamaica.

“We think this can be solved diplomatically, but just because the Philippines or Vietnam are not as large as China doesn’t mean that they can just be elbowed aside,” he added.

Obama is in Jamaica for a summit of Caribbean nations in Panama.

China quickly pushed back against Obama’s characterization.

“I think everyone can see very clearly who it is in the world who is using the greatest size and muscle,” said a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, according to Reuters.

China has moved to claim new parts of the South China Sea, worrying other countries in the region.

Obama was also asked about whether Chinese investment in the Caribbean was something that concerned the U.S.

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