U.S. Will Not Tolerate Navigation Restrictions In South China Sea

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U.S. Will Not Tolerate Navigation Restrictions In South China Sea
MaoNo / Pixabay

The United States issued a warning to Asian regional powers that it would not tolerate any attempts to impose restrictions on freedom of movement in the South China Sea.

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Asian neighbors met at a regional summit to discuss how far they would push in their opposition to China’s island building program in the South China Sea, writes Nicolas Revise for AFP. The sea is subject to territorial claims from a number of countries, but Beijing is aggressively asserting its own claims by reclaiming land and building military outposts.

ASEAN summit addresses South China Sea

US Secretary of State John Kerry claimed that freedom of navigation in the South China Sea is an “intrinsic right.”

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“Let me be clear: The United States will not accept restrictions on freedom of navigation and overflight, or other lawful uses of the sea,” he told the press after the summit in Kuala Lumpur.

Despite a regional pledge against provocative actions in the strategically important waterway, China has undertaken a huge land reclamation program involving hundreds of ships. Tensions have been rising for years as Beijing becomes increasingly aggressive, and the issue dominated the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Malaysia.

Strategic waterway a huge concern for regional powers

The 10-nation grouping met in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, and the summit was attended by envoys from a dozen or so non-members including China, Japan, South Korea and the U.S. Beijing lays claims to almost all of the South China Sea, which covers rich fishing grounds and potentially huge reserves of oil and gas.

ASEAN members Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei have various claims to parts of the sea. Many of them overlap with other claims such as those of Taiwan.

The issue was a hot topic at the annual meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers this Tuesday. Each year the bloc releases a joint communique detailing the results of the meeting, and members take great pride in maintaining consensus diplomacy.

That consensus has been threatened during the latest meeting as officials argue about the language which should be used when addressing the issue of the South China Sea. AFP cites diplomatic sources who said that the Philippines and Vietnam were pressing for the use of stronger language related to China’s island building, which they fear could strengthen Beijing’s territorial claims.

China exploiting differences within group

However China has several traditional allies within the grouping, which pushed back against the use of stronger language. “China’s friends are taking a hard stance,” said one diplomat familiar with the drafting.

Although AFP states the diplomat did not specify which countries opposed the Philippines and Vietnam, China is traditionally supported by Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar within ASEAN.

Disagreements have raised fears that a joint statement may not be issued. In the four-decade history of ASEAN, the 2012 Cambodia summit was the only other time that a statement could not be agreed on.

Diplomats from other member nations accused Cambodia of causing problems by refusing to allow criticism of China over its policy in the South China Sea.

“China has already figured out how ASEAN works on the South China Sea, it knows how to divide us. Look at what happened in Cambodia,” one diplomat at the talks in Kuala Lumpur told AFP.

Lack of trust in Beijing evident at summit

Work on the joint statement continued on Thursday, despite the fact that it was supposed to have been finished on Wednesday.  “It has not been finalised as of now. There are difficulties,” said Singapore Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam. “The paragraphs relating to the South China Sea are causing some problems,” he added.

AFP has already seen a draft of the communique, which does not make any mention of ending land reclamation programs. It says that recent actions “have the very potential of undermining peace, security and stability.” Diplomats hope to release the joint statement by the end of the day.

Both the U.S. and its regional allies have pressed China to end island building and construction work. Officials in Beijing had previously refused to do so, claiming that it was within their rights. However this Wednesday Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi claimed that the land reclamation program program had “already stopped.”

Some delegates do not believe that China is being entirely truthful. “They’re not saying they’re stopping construction, nor are they saying they’ll stop future reclamation,” one diplomat told the press.

“The Chinese have indicated that they have stopped. I hope it is true. I don’t know yet,” said John Kerry.

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While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. <i>To contact Brendan or give him an exclusive, please contact him at theflask@gmail.com</i>
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48 COMMENTS

  1. Hard to stomach such a claim but it happened only when the US Navy , Air force left the Philippines , now I can positively says that it was orchestrated by china that the Philippine senate that time is bribed and the voting not be done thru a referendum but among them selves , because the senators knew the Philippine masses are pro Americans and the bases will stay which will set back the Chinese conquest .

  2. as soon as the USA stop trading with china , Chinese can’t afford to pay a maid .. back to zero with a Hungry army OMG !!

  3. You can search your free and open internet to verify its authenticity. CNN is an American right wing news channel. To you face, Fuch BiggDogg.

  4. Kerry is stupid to believe China Xi , wang . Never trust China, don’t waste tax payer money. ACT, ACT..NOW. helped ASEAN neighbors beat the crap of Chinese. Steal, hack, fake products, ship garbage to US. Stop trade w China. Bring business back to Us, any products made in China will be copied cat within a week.Soon US and the world learn that China Xi will enforce restrictions. Why wait?? ACT… Don’t bark and do nothing

  5. Chinese are loosers! USA and Canada did not want them. Africa hates China and Chinese.Europeans hate China and Chinese! Who likes morally bankrupt thieves anyways?!

  6. Bobby:

    What you said is true! China and Chinese are devils! They are very unwelcome in Africa as well. In fact, every Africans wanted to kick them out of the continent had it not been China bribes our corrupted officials!

  7. Some commie chinese wrote it. No navel officer would turn and run from another ship. Never! Go ahead and make up some more crap. Your a commie dumb@ss!

  8. your assumption is only illusion, china does not have the guts to wage war against the US, otherwise china will be back to dust of dirt.

  9. WTF are we going to due about………..NOTHING, just came off fourteen years of loser wars and we have nothing left. OH I know lets get the GOP warmongers to go over and threaten them. bunch of old draft dodger COWARDS anyway

  10. China needs to be really taught a lesson. Geez just look those lines and the islands. They’re freaking closer to the Philippines than China. STOP THE BIG BULLY!

  11. China may use the restriction in South China Sea to shoot down America Passenger planes which fly across Pacific 24/7 from USA to Asia i..e. Tokyo, South Korea, Bangkok, Vietnam, Philippines etc..for violating or passing thru restriction area of South China Sea air path zone.

  12. Bring Exxon, Mobil, Shell and other E.U oil drilling companies to South c.Sea, all international interests to South c.Sea and all international navy of countries who have interests to anchor next to those artificial rocks.

  13. F#ck the Chinese…they’re sooo bad breath,hackers,stupid,ugly mother F+cker,copycaters,Fakers,eat fetus, drop like Hiroshima and wasted this stupid country.

  14. china is soooo far away…why its simply jealous of tiny nations that are near those islands..
    but is such a communist bullying the tiny countries with their heavey weaponry.

  15. China has never stopped 1 of our ships. They follow us around like a baby look for its mother. Please post link to show otherwise.

  16. The fact that you can even get to this site mean you work as a troll for China. Nations in the region call the U.S.A for help. Try to stop 1 of our ships and the world will see how destructive the U.S.A can be.

  17. I think China will not tolerate any navigation into its territorial waters without Chinese government approval. I think nations in the region know that USA’s meddling have created destructive disasters in the Middle East, Vietnam, Korea, etc. and will not be tolerated by nations in the region

Comments are closed.