Washington, DC: United State Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday said that disputes in the China Sea must be resolved through international law and free nations should come together to fight it.
“The United States’ policy is crystal clear: The South China Sea is not China’s maritime empire. If Beijing violates international law and free nations do nothing, history shows the CCP will simply take more territory. China Sea disputes must be resolved through international law,” he said in a tweet.
The United State this month rejected China’s claims to offshore resources in most of the South China Sea, drawing criticism from China which said Washington’s position has raised tension in the region.
Australia, in a declaration filed at the United Nations in New York on Friday, said it also rejected China’s maritime claims around contested islands in the South China Sea as being inconsistent with the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea.
China claims 90% of the potentially energy-rich waters but Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also lay claim to parts of it.
Earlier the US officially dismissed China’s claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea calling Beijing’s bullying tactics to control the region as completely unlawful. In his 13 July statement, Pompeo said, Washington will align its position over Chinese claims with the 2016 Arbitral Tribunal’s decision.
About $3 trillion worth of trade passes through the waterway each year. China has built bases atop atolls in the region but says its intentions are peaceful.
Pompeo has repeatedly said China has offered no coherent legal basis for its ambitions in the South China Sea and for years has been using intimidation against other coastal states. The world would not allow China to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire, Pompeo has said, adding the United State would support countries that believed China has violated their maritime claims.
The United State has long opposed China’s expansive territorial claims on the South China Sea, sending warships regularly through the strategic waterway to demonstrate freedom of navigation.
Pompeo on Thursday had attacked China, saying Washington and its allies must use “more creative and assertive ways” to press the Chinese Communist Party to change its ways, calling it the “mission of our time”.
Pompeo also called for an end to “blind engagement” with China and repeated frequently leveled United State charges about its unfair trade practices, human rights abuses and efforts to infiltrate American society.