In a fresh salvo at China, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that the South China Sea is not Beijing’s maritime empire. He said, United States' policy is crystal clear that South China Sea dispute must be resolved through international law.
Mr Pompeo said, if Beijing violates international law and free nations do nothing, history shows that Chinese Communist Party will simply take more territory. Mr Pompeo’s statement comes after Australia backed United States saying Beijing's territorial claims in the South China Sea are illegal.
In a letter to the United Nations, Australia’s permanent mission rejected Chinese Communist Party's claim to disputed islands calling them inconsistent with international law.
Australian government said, any claims by China are inconsistent with 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). It said maritime claims by Chinese Communist Party do not adhere to the UN rules on baselines, maritime zones and classification of features.
China claims nearly 90 per cent of the South China Sea as its sovereign territory. The sea, which is grouped into three archipelagos, is very crucial for global trade.
Earlier the US officially dismissed China’s claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea calling Beijing’s bullying tactics to control the region as completely unlawful.
In his July 13 statement, Mr Pompeo said, Washington will align its position over Chinese claims with the 2016 Arbitral Tribunal's decision.
In 2016, an arbitral tribunal ruled that China’s claim over historic rights to resources in the South China Sea was incompatible with the detailed allocation of rights and maritime zones in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. (AIR)