With its commitment in the unimpeded freedom of navigation, United States of America today expressed concern in the increase of tensions in the South China Sea.
In his remarks today at DC, Acting Deputy Spokesperson Patrick Ventrell says the United States does not take a position on competing territorial claims over land features and have no territorial ambitions in the South China Sea.
However, Mr. Ventrell notes that the US government believes the nations of the region must work collaboratively and diplomatically to resolve disputes without coercion, without intimidation, without threats, and without the use of force.
“We are concerned by the increase in tensions in the South China Sea and are monitoring the situation closely.” -Mr. Ventrell
He says recent developments include an uptick in confrontational rhetoric, disagreements over resource exploitation, coercive economic actions, and the incidents around the Scarborough Reef, including the use of barriers to deny access.
In particular, Mr. Ventrell cites that China’s upgrading of the administrative level of Sansha City and establishment of a new military garrison there covering disputed areas of the South China Sea risk further escalating tensions in the region.
“The United States urges all parties to take steps to lower tensions in keeping with the spirit of the 1992 ASEAN Declaration on the South China Sea and the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.” -Mr. Ventrell
The US strongly supports ASEAN’s efforts to build consensus on a principles-based mechanism for managing and preventing disputes, Mr. Ventrell highlighted.
The US encourages ASEAN and China to make meaningful progress toward finalizing a comprehensive Code of Conduct in order to establish rules of the road and clear procedures for peacefully addressing disagreements.
“In this context, the United States endorses the recent ASEAN Six-Point Principles on the South China Sea.” -Mr. Ventrell
The US continues to urge all parties to clarify and pursue their territorial and maritime claims in accordance with international law, including the Law of the Sea Convention.
The US believes that claimants should explore every diplomatic or other peaceful avenue for resolution.
In addition, the US also encourages relevant parties to explore new cooperative arrangements for managing the responsible exploitation of resources in the South China Sea.
According to Mr. Ventrell, as President Obama and Secretary Clinton have made clear, Asia-Pacific nations all have a shared stake in ensuring regional stability through cooperation and dialogue.
To that end, Mr. Ventrell underlines that the United States actively supports ASEAN unity and leadership in regional forums and is undertaking a series of consultations with ASEAN members and other nations in the region to promote diplomatic solutions and to help reinforce the system of rules, security and economic dynamism of the Asia-Pacific region.
Reports saeys six countries are competing claims to the region’s water and islands which are rich in fish, oil and gas and other resources.
Recent China’s recent advance over the Scarborough Reef have caused clamor among several nations, including Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines. Reports started to surface hat China is preparing to invite oil company bids for energy exploration in the area as well.