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The US rejects China's claim in the South China Sea

The satellite image shows that China has militarized part of the South China Sea. Photo: Inquier

In a statement made early July 14, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States rejected China's sovereignty claims over offshore resources in most of the South China Sea and confirmed the The above statement is "completely illegal". 

According to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the US rejected Chinese claims in the waters surrounding Vietnam's Main Beach, Luconia Shoal off Malaysia, waters considered to be within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Brunei and the Big Natuna Island of the Natuna Islands off Indonesia.

Pompeo emphasized that any action by China to harass the fishing or oil exploitation activities of other countries in these waters, or to conduct such actions unilaterally illegal.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also asserted that China has not provided any consistent legal basis for the "nine-dash line" claim in the South China Sea since officially declaring it in 2009.

According to Washington Examiner commentator Tom Rogan, the State Department's move contained some important messages, including a significant shift in Washington's policy toward the South China Sea issue. 

Compared to previous US disputes on the South China Sea dispute (condemning Beijing's unreasonable sovereignty claims, at the same time calling on countries in the region to negotiate to reach a consensus on sea  sovereignty), the claim this time moves to a different approach, which is to proactively reject China's claims. The statement even implies that other countries in the region have a much greater interest in the mentioned seas.

The administration of US President Donald Trump goes directly into one of the most sensitive issues in US-China relations raises concerns that the tense relationship between the two countries is in danger of turning to face-to-face confrontation.

In response to Washington, on July 14, China's Foreign Ministry accused the United States of being a troublemaker, undermining peace and stability in the South China Sea. Speaking at the press conference, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lian-Kien stated that China never sought to build an empire in the South China Sea and opposed the Foreign Minister's statement on July 13. 

On the same day, a Japanese government spokesman welcomed the US Secretary of State's statement on Washington's position on China's sovereignty claims in the South China Sea. Jiji Press news agency quoted Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga as affirming that Japan "supports the importance of the principle of rule of law and the use of peaceful means instead of force”, coercion and said Japan would cooperate with the US for this purpose.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Defense Ministry has also agreed with the US about the need to have an order in the South China Sea based on internationally accepted rules. Philippine Defense Minister Delfin affirmed that the best interests of regional stability would be achieved when China followed the international community's call to comply with international law and respect the current international agreement.

Manila also called on Beijing to comply with the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in 2016, which rejected China's "nine-dash line" claims in the South China Sea as well as compliance with the UN Convention on Law. The sea (UNCLOS) that it has signed.

AP also said that the US position is resolutely resolving maritime disputes between China and its neighbors peacefully through UN-sponsored agencies. Although the United States will continue to play a neutral role in territorial disputes, this statement means that the US Government is truly on the side of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam.

Observers on July 14 said that the US Secretary of State's statement contained drastic words and messages saying that Beijing's claims were not only legally wrong, but also unreasonable. This will be a major turning point for US policy, contributing to increasing tensions between the two countries.

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