The US is the fifth countries protesting China's
claims in the East Sea.
The US Mission to the United Nations (UN) has sent a
circular note to head of the UN to oppose China’s claims in the East Sea
(internationally known as the South China Sea) that Washington calls
“unlawful”, the mission said on its website on Monday.
China's claims violate international law. Graphic:
In a letter sent to Secretary-General of the United
Nations António Guterres, Kelly Craft, US Ambassador, US Representative to
the UN, said the US “rejects these maritime claims as inconsistent with
international law as reflected in the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention.”
“I request that you circulate the enclosed letter to
all UN Member States as a document of the General Assembly under Agenda Item
74(a) and of the Security Council, and that you post it on the web page of
the Office of Legal Affairs, Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the
Sea,” said the letter.
Washington sent the letter regarding Note Verbale
No. CML/14/2019 sent by the Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of
China to you on December 12, 2019 in response to the submission by Malaysia
to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) dated
December 12, 2019.
US Secretary of State 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.”
The US is the fifth country to protest China’s
claims in the East Sea following Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and
Indonesia. Four those Southeast Asian countries sent circular notes to the
UN between December 2019 and late May 2020.
The Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam are among
countries that, along with China, have claims in the East Sea. Indonesia is
not among the claimant countries, but in early 2020 and 2016, tensions
flared up between Jakarta and Beijing over the presence of Chinese fishing
boats swarming in East Sea waters near Indonesia’s Natuna Islands.
China unlawfully claims about 90% of the East Sea,
including the archipelago of islands, reefs and atolls known as the Spratlys.
While China has historically preferred to handle all
disputes bilaterally, the resumption of negotiations between Beijing and
ASEAN still holds promise for reinvigorating a multilateral framework toward
greater cooperation and conflict resolution.
The US is not a party to the United Nations
Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982 while China and Vietnam are.