While the Philippines is banking on the upcoming ruling of the international court on the South China Sea issue, tensions are expected to remain high as China emphasized previously that it will not recognize the decision. Now that the decision is coming closer, several countries are calling out to uphold the rule of law but there are also fears that the dispute could only escalate further.
Ruling on the South China Sea dispute is expected for the next few weeks. China from the get go said that it will not adhere to the ruling. Given such statement, many are already anticipating what actions China may push for should the ruling be against its territorial ambitions. Some expect Beijing to continue the buildup in the disputed region.
As such, China has also warned against third party interventions, calling out the United States for its patrols in the region. However, US argued that its buildup is not directed at China.
“We are strengthening our military role in the region, both unilaterally and through this wide range of partnerships and alliances we have, but that isn’t in order to provoke anything,” Voice of America quoted U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter.
“It’s to continue to stand with the system of principles and peace and security that has kept, that has allowed this region to prosper for many decades here.”
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida also called out other nations involved in the dispute to uphold the rule of law. He pushed for the ASEAN to “strengthen its unity” and “its centrality in regional cooperation in East Asia.”
“The area where the principle of the ‘rule of law’ is now most at stake is maritime security,” the Jakarta Post quoted the minister as he spoke in Bangkok on the second leg of his eight-day Asia tour which includes Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.