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Jul 16, 2020 / 06:39

US assists countries in South China Sea protect legal boundaries: Mike Pompeo

The US top diplomat said Washington is prepared to do the things necessary to assist countries in the region in protecting their valid legal claims.

US State Secretary Mike Pompeo has said that Washington’s rejects Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea and will support regional countries to preserve their maritime boundaries.

 US State Secretary Mike Pompeo.

He said countries all throughout Asia, and indeed in Southeast Asia and in the Pacific, recognizing that the US is prepared to do the things necessary to assist them in protecting their valid legal claims against China's aggression in the region.

On Monday, for the first time, the US made their policy on the South China Sea crystal clear. Through which, the US rejected China’s claims to most of the South China Sea and affirmed that America stands with its Southeast Asian allies and partners in protecting their sovereign rights to offshore resources.

Pompeo said on July 15 that the statement is “very very important” and it is made after “extensive legal review”.

He emphasized that it’s not China’s maritime empire. “If Beijing violates the international law and free nations do nothing, then history shows that the CCP (the Communist Party of China) will simply take more territory,” he said in answering a question at the press availability.

He went on to affirm that “our statement gives significant support to ASEAN leaders who have declared that the South China Sea disputes must be resolved through international law, not ‘might makes right’.”

So far, the US has repeatedly expressed concerns about China’s aggression in the South China Sea, saying that Beijing is bullying other countries in the region.

Vietnam is one of the claimants in the sea besides the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Brunei.

In a letter sent in early June to Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres, Kelly Craft, US Representative to the UN, opposed China’s claims in the South China Sea that Washington calls “unlawful” and that the US “rejects these maritime claims as inconsistent with international law as reflected in the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention.”

Following the move, Mike Pompeo said in a tweet “We reject these claims as unlawful and dangerous. Member States must unite to uphold international law and freedom of the seas.”