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US Rejects China Maritime Claims In South China Sea (Bien Dong Sea)

Rosy Huong Rosy Huong

huongthhd@gmail.com

July 14, 2021 | 22:34

The United States rejects China's "unlawful" maritime claims in the South China Sea (known as Bien Dong Sea in Vietnam) and stands with Southeast Asian countries facing Chinese "coercion.”

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US Rejects China Maritime Claims In South China Sea (Bien Dong Sea)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Photo: Reuters

The statement was made by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a video conference with foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) on July 14.

China said the comments were aimed at derailing regional peace and stability, Reuters reported.

"It is extremely irresponsible of the US to deliberately provoke controversy over territorial sovereignty and maritime rights in the South China Sea, sow discord among China and ASEAN countries," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a briefing in Beijing.

On July 11, the Biden administration upheld a Trump-era rejection of nearly all of China’s significant maritime claims in the South China Sea, according to the Politico.

The Biden administration on Sunday upheld a Trump-era rejection of nearly all of China’s significant maritime claims in the South China Sea. | Alex Wong/Getty Images
The Biden administration on July 11 upheld a Trump-era rejection of nearly all of China’s significant maritime claims in the South China Sea. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

The administration also warned China that any attack on the Philippines in the flashpoint region would draw a US response under a mutual defense treaty.

The stern message from Secretary of State Antony Blinken came in a statement released ahead of the fifth anniversary of an international tribunal’s ruling in favor of the Philippines, against China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea. China rejects the ruling.

Ahead of the fourth anniversary of the ruling last year, the Trump administration came out in favor of the ruling but also said it regarded as illegitimate virtually all Chinese maritime claims in the South China Sea outside China’s internationally recognized waters. July 11’s statement reaffirms that position, which had been laid out by Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo.

Nowhere is the rules-based maritime order under greater threat than in the South China Sea,” Blinken said, using language similar to Pompeo’s. He accused China of continuing “to coerce and intimidate Southeast Asian coastal states, threatening freedom of navigation in this critical global throughway.”

Also at the July 14 meeting, Blinken said the US had "deep concerns" about the situation in Myanmar and urged the group to take action to end violence and restore democracy there.

The meeting with the 10-member bloc, which includes Myanmar, is the first since the Biden administration took office in January and comes amid concerns among diplomats and others that Washington has not been paying sufficient attention to a region that is crucial to its strategy to counter an increasingly assertive China, Reuters said.

ASEAN gathers the 10 member countries of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam./.

Vietnamese soldiers on a patrol on Son Ca island (Source: VNA)
Vietnamese soldiers in a patrol on Son Ca island. Photo: VNA

Vietnam’s stance on the settlement of disputes in the Bien Dong Sea is clear and consistent, spokeswoman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang on July 12.

Hang made the affirmation while responding to reporters’ question on Vietnam’s comments on the occasion of five years since the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) issued its ruling on the Bien Dong issue.

Vietnam always backs the settlement of disputes regarding sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction in the Bien Dong Sea through diplomatic and legal processes, without the use of force or threats to use force, and by peaceful solutions and measures, in accordance with the UN Charter and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

As a UNCLOS signatory and a coastal nation to the Bien Dong Sea, Vietnam called on all concerned parties to respect and fully realise their legal obligations as stipulated in the convention, cooperate and actively and pragmatically contribute to maintaining peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation, and order in the Bien Dong Sea in line with international law, Hang said.

On this occasion, the spokeswoman also reiterated Vietnam’s stance on its sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes, and waters over which Vietnam has sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction as defined in the convention, according to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA)./.

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Rosy Huong