US rejects China’s claims in South China Sea, including to tensions

Washington/Beijing, July 14

The United States on Monday rejected China’s claims to offshore sources in a lot of the South China Sea, drawing criticism from China which mentioned the US place raised stress within the area, highlighting an more and more testy relationship.

China has supplied no coherent authorized foundation for its ambitions within the South China Sea and for years has been utilizing intimidation in opposition to different Southeast Asian coastal states, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mentioned in a press release.

“We are making clear: Beijing’s claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful, as is its campaign of bullying to control them,” mentioned Pompeo, a distinguished China hawk inside the Trump administration.

The United States has lengthy opposed China’s expansive territorial claims on the South China Sea, sending warships usually by the strategic waterway to display freedom of navigation there. Monday’s feedback mirror a harsher tone.

“The world will not allow Beijing to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire,” Pompeo mentioned.

The US assertion helps a ruling 4 years in the past below the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that invalidated most of China’s claims to maritime rights within the South China Sea.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian condemned the US rejection of China’s declare.

“It intentionally stirs up controversy over maritime sovereignty claims, destroys regional peace and stability and is an irresponsible act,” he mentioned at a daily briefing.

“The US has repeatedly sent large fleets of sophisticated military planes and ships to the South China Sea … The US is the troublemaker and destroyer of regional peace and stability.”

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in a video name along with his Filipino counterpart, condemned the United States for sowing discord between China and the ASEAN international locations and urged the Philippines to “look forward, not backwards”. The 2016 ruling that the US assertion referred to happened because of the Philippines difficult China’s claims in an arbitration courtroom.

China claims 90 per cent of the doubtless energy-rich South China Sea however Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam additionally lay declare to components of it.

About $three trillion value of commerce passes by the waterway annually. China has constructed bases atop atolls within the area however says its intentions are peaceable.

Analysts mentioned it might be necessary to see if different nations adopted the US stance and what if something, Washington may do to strengthen its place and forestall Beijing from creating “facts on the water” to buttress its claims.

“The Southeast Asian claimants, especially Vietnam, will feel more confident in asserting their jurisdictional rights under the UNCLOS,” mentioned Ian Storey, senior fellow on the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore.

The Philippines strongly supported a rules-based order within the South China Sea and urged China to adjust to the four-year-old arbitration ruling, Defence Minister Delfin Lorenzana mentioned.

Taiwan welcomed the US assertion.

“Our country opposes any attempt by a claimant state to use intimidation, coercion, or force to resolve disputes,” Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou advised reporters.

North Korea’s state-run KCNA information company quoted a Foreign Ministry official describing Pompeo’s feedback as “reckless”.

The relationship between the United States and China has grown more and more tense not too long ago over numerous points together with China’s dealing with of the novel coronavirus and its tightened grip on Hong Kong.

China routinely outlines the scope of its claims within the South China Sea on the subject of a so-called nine-dash line on its maps that encompasses about nine-tenths of the three.5-million-square-kilometre waters.

“This is basically the first time we have called it illegitimate,” Chris Johnson, an analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, mentioned of Pompeo’s assertion.

“It’s fine to put out a statement but what are you going to do about it?” Johnson mentioned. Reuters

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