To some, the United State’s position in the highly contested South China Sea seems wavering. But is this really the case?
For U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, his country’s position on the issue remains unchanged—respect international law. In the wake of the recent ruling of the UN-sanctioned court of arbitration in The Hague, which virtually favors the Philippines and its claim, some countries have weighed in on the issue.
US to China: Respect Int’l Laws
The issue stemmed from the maritime dispute filed by the Philippines against China before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague in 2013. On July 12, the court issued the much-awaited ruling that virtually declared China’s self-imposed nine-dash rule as inconsistent with international law, especially the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Just recently, during the second India-U.S. Strategic and Commercial Dialogue in New Delhi, Kerry reiterated in a joint statement the U.S.’ call for both parties to abide by international laws in asserting its claim in the contested maritime zone, Reuters reported.
“The United States continues to call on China and the Philippines to abide by the tribunal’s recent decision which is final and legally binding on both parties,” Kerry was quoted as saying by Reuters.
US Not Backing Down
While some countries chose to distance as much as possible to avoid having their finger in the pie, the U.S. has been vocal in expressing its position on the issue, especially since freedom to navigate in the vast maritime zone could be curtailed once China chooses to bar anyone from freely passing through the region.
But from the onset of the dispute, China has maintained and reiterated that it has no intention of participating and recognizing the ruling of the court.
“They (India and the US) urged the utmost respect for international law, as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos),” the joint statement reads as quoted by NDTV.