The United States once again warned China against taking additional provocative actions in the disputed waters in South China Sea.
Deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asia Colin Willett, told Reuters, that Washington will have a lot of options to respond to any move that China will do in the disputed region.
According to Reuters, the warning comes ahead of an International court ruling on the South China Sea expecting largely to reject Beijing’s broad territorial claims.
China has been claiming virtually all the South China Sea and it rejects the authority of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague hearing the dispute, even though Beijing has ratified the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea on which the case is based.
Willett said that Washington is hoping that China would see the ruling as an opportunity to restart serious discussions with their neighbors.
But China has been accusing the United States of ‘hyping’ the issue and warned in May that international complaints about its actions in the disputed waters of South China Sea would snap back on its critics.
China listed more than forty countries stating that it supports its position on the arbitration case but Willett said it was not even clear what those countries have allegedly agreed to.
“There’s some skepticism about that grouping,” Willett said.
UNITED STATES WARNINGS
“We need to be ready to be very loud and vocal, in harmony together, standing behind the Philippines and the rest of the ASEAN claimants to say that this is international law, this is incredibly important, it is binding on all parties,” Amy Searight, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for South and Southeast Asia told a seminar at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Searight said the United States, European Union, and allies like Australia, Japan and South Korea must also be ready to make clear that the court’s ruling must be binding and that there would be costs to China for not respecting it if it lost the case.
Searight said the message to China that if it did not respect negative ruling, should be, “we will hold you accountable”.
Klaus Botzet, head of the political section of the EU Delegation in Washington said that it is difficult to oppose onto world opinion.
“A joint Western, a joint world opinion, matters also for Beijing,” he said. “If we unanimously support that international law as formulated by the international tribunal in the Hague … needs to be upheld, that’s a very strong message and will be very difficult to ignore,” Botzet added.
“It’s investing much more in its military relative to its economic growth; it’s forcing its neighbors into alliances against itself; positions its neighbors otherwise wouldn’t take and the return on investment on this policy is negative,” he said
As Botzet said that United States had exceptional military capabilities in the Asia-Pacific, he added that the European Union strongly supports the American guarantee of international law in Asia.