washington [US]Jan 6 (ANI): The United States on Thursday (local time) expressed concern over China’s efforts to reclaim and militarize disputed outposts in the South China Sea.
At a State Department briefing, spokesman Ned Price said, “China’s efforts to reclaim and militarize disputed outposts in the South China Sea are willing to use coercion and intimidation and other provocative actions to enhance its Expansive and illegal territorial maritime claims in the South China Sea undermine peace and security in the region. Beijing has not provided a coherent legal basis for its extensive maritime claims in the South China Sea.”
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He said China’s activities in the South China Sea were a frequent topic of discussion, including with U.S. allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region, as well as with Chinese authorities.
“We note that China, in the name of enforcing its extensive and illegal maritime claims in the South China Sea, is interfering with the acquired rights and freedoms of navigation of all nations. We unequivocally reject China’s illegal maritime claims and any such interference, and we again calls on China to bring its maritime claims into line with international law as reflected in UNCLOS, abide by the arbitral tribunal’s July 12, 2016 ruling in the South China Sea arbitration, and cease its illegal and provocative actions in the South China Sea,” Price said .
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Since 2010, China has been converting small, uninhabited islands into artificial islands to bring them under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. China has been altering the size and structure of coral reefs by altering the physical characteristics of landmass. It has also established airstrips at Parcel and Spratly.
The Chinese fishing fleet is a paramilitary operation on behalf of the state, not a fishing commercial enterprise. The United States is very critical of the construction of such artificial islands, and refers to China’s actions as building the “Great Wall of Sand”.
China has sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea, including the Paracel Islands. However, Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam also claim parts of the region, which is believed to hold valuable oil and gas deposits.
China, Taiwan and Vietnam have sovereignty over the Xisha Islands, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei and the Philippines have sovereignty over the Nansha Islands, and the Philippines, China and Taiwan have sovereignty over Huangyan Island.
“This is not an effort on our own. It is an effort that we and our allies and partners, including ASEAN, in the context of the East Asia Summit, and on a bilateral basis will maintain a rules-based maritime order,” Price said.
Regarding direct talks between the U.S. and China since Chinese J-11s attempted to intercept U.S. aircraft RC-133 in international airspace in the South China Sea in late December, he said, “I know the Department of Defense has been involved with this, so I need to refer you to Referral to the Ministry of Defense. Of course, they have their own channels with the People’s Republic of China, including channels aimed at deconflicting, so I need to refer you to the Ministry of Defense.”
Earlier, the U.S. military dismissed China’s accusation that its reconnaissance plane “performed dangerous maneuvers against Chinese naval fighter jets” in the South China Sea on December 21, insisting that Chinese fighter jets almost caused the two planes to collide.
Price also declined to disclose Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s official visit to China this year. He said, “I don’t want to talk about the Secretary of State’s agenda. Obviously, his trip is still a few weeks away. I think we will have more to say as the time approaches.” (Arney)
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)