|Assistant Secretary David Stilwell, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the US Department of State (Photo: Stripes/VNA)
Addressing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy recently, Mr. Stilwell said that as stated in ARIA “the core tenets of the United States-backed international system are being challenged by China’s illegal construction and militarization of artificial features in the South China Sea (East Sea).
China’s actions in the South China Sea are a threat not only to South China Sea claimant states, or to Southeast Asian nations generally, but to all trading nations and all who value freedom of the seas and the peaceful settlement of disputes, he said.
Mr. Stilwell added China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea, exemplified by the preposterous nine-dashed line, are both unlawful and unreasonable.
Through repeated provocative actions to assert the nine-dashed line, Beijing is inhibiting ASEAN members from accessing energy reserves, while contributing to instability and the risk of conflict. As ARIA emphasizes, it is the policy of the United States to ensure freedom of navigation, overflight, and other lawful uses of the sea, stated the US Assistant State Secretary.