THE United States on Monday, July 13, rejected most of China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea.
“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,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
“The world will not allow Beijing to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire,” he added.
Pompeo also stressed that the U.S. stands with its Southeast Asian allies.
“America stands with our Southeast Asian allies and partners in protecting their sovereign rights to offshore resources, consistent with their rights and obligations under international law. We stand with the international community in defence of freedom of the seas and respect for sovereignty and reject any push to impose ‘might makes right’ in the South China Sea or the wider region,” he said.
According to Pompeo, the unanimous decision “rejected the (People’s Republic of China’s) maritime claims as having no basis in international law.”
“As the United States has previously stated, and as specifically provided in the Convention, the Arbitral Tribunal’s decision is final and legally binding on both parties,” he added.
China, in response, said the U.S.’ rejection of its maritime claims in the South China Sea is completely unjustified.
“The United States is not a country directly involved in the disputes. However, it has kept interfering in the issue,” the Chinese Embassy in Washington said on Tuesday, July 14.
“Under the pretext of preserving stability, it is flexing muscles, stirring up tension and inciting confrontation in the region,” it added.
Tribunal ruling ‘invalid’
The Chinese Embassy in Manila also responded to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. urging China to comply in good faith with the arbitral ruling on the South China Sea case.
“China’s position is consistent, clear and firm,” it said in a tweet that was quickly deleted on Monday.
“The South China Sea arbitration and so-called award are illegal and invalid,” the embassy added.
Locsin, on the 4th anniversary of the historic ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, said the award is “non-negotiable.”
“The Philippines, as a law-abiding, peace-loving and responsible member of the international community, reaffirms on this occasion its adherence to the award and its enforcement without any possibility of compromise or change,” he said.
“The award is non-negotiable,” he added.
Locsin noted that the ruling, which was “initiated and overwhelmingly won” by the Philippines, is a contribution of great significance and consequence to the peaceful settlement of disputes in the South China Sea and to the peace and stability of the region at large.
Likewise, the arbitration award conclusively settled the issue of historic rights and maritime entitlements in the South China Sea.
“As a reaffirmation of UNCLOS, and by laying down an authoritative interpretation of key UNCLOS provisions such as Article 121(3), the award is a milestone in the corpus of international law, the cornerstone of a rules-based regional and international order,” Locsin said.
He stressed that China’s “nine-dash line” had no basis in law, adding that China’s actions in the West Philippine Sea violated the Philippines’sovereign rights.
“The Tribunal ruled that certain actions within the Philippines EEZ violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights and were thus unlawful; that large-scale reclamation and construction of artificial islands caused severe environmental harm in violation of international conventions; that the large-scale harvesting of endangered marine species damaged the marine ecosystem; and that actions taken since the commencement of the arbitration had aggravated the disputes,” Locsin said.