The Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed Washington’s rejection of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) claims to the South China Sea.
According to a Taiwan News press conference, the Taiwanese government accepted the U.S. position on the South China Sea and expressed interest in being included in a multilateral dispute resolution mechanism for the disputed waters and islands.
Joanne Ou, the Ministry’s spokeswoman, also called for putting aside differences in favor of cooperation to develop resources jointly with the region’s countries.
On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a press release that he considers the CCP maritime claims outside its waters and its campaign of intimidation to control them, to be illegitimate.
Pompeo again stressed that U.S. interest in the area is to preserve peace and stability, defend the freedom of the seas in a manner consistent with international law, maintain the unimpeded flow of trade, and oppose any attempt to use coercion or force to resolve disputes.
According to Pompeo, these interests that the United States shares with its trading partners and allies are threatened by the CCP, which has been carrying out a massive military occupation of the area using intimidation to control and take over the territory.
The statement adds that the CCP has no legal basis to unilaterally impose its claim of the “Nine-Dashed Line,” according to which the territory in question would belong to it.
In a unanimous decision on July 12, 2016, an Arbitral Tribunal constituted under the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention—to which the CCP is a state party—rejected the CCP’s maritime claims as having no basis in international law.
The United States government chose to support the Arbitral Tribunal’s legally binding decision, which ruled that the CCP has no lawful territorial or maritime claim to Mischief Reef or Second Thomas Shoal. Both fall entirely under the Philippines’ sovereign rights and jurisdiction. Further, Beijing does not have any territorial or maritime claims generated from these features.
The United States rejects Chinese Communist Party claims in the waters around Vanguard Bank off Vietnam; Lucania Shoals off Malaysia; waters considered to be in Brunei’s exclusive economic zone; and Natuna Besar off the coast of Indonesia, Pompeo said.
“Any PRC [CCP] action to harass other states’ fishing or hydrocarbon development in these waters—or to carry out such activities unilaterally—is unlawful,” Pompeo said.
And that demonstrated once again the commitment President Trump’s administration is trying to prevent abuses by the CCP in the conflict zone.