Beijing’s South China Sea claims ‘severely undermine’ rule of law South China Sea News

China’s activities in the South China Sea, including its “historic claims” to nearly all parts of this important trade route, “severely undermine the rule of law at the sea” and generally accepted provisions of international law, the U.S. concluded in a new report.

The U.S. State Department said in a report Wednesday that the overall impact of Beijing’s claims is that it “unlawfully claims sovereignty or some form of exclusive jurisdiction over much of the South China Sea.”

“For this reason, the United States and many other countries have rejected these claims in favor of a rules-based international maritime order in the South China Sea and around the world.”

In addition to a lack of “substantial content”, the report, titled “Marine Boundaries,” said China’s “Historical Right” Declaration More than 3.5 million square kilometers (1.35 million square miles) of sea “is insufficient because of its ambiguity.”

“The People’s Republic of China has stated that its historic rights are ‘protected by international law,’ but have provided no legal basis for such claims,” ​​the report said, according to the country’s official name as the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

China invokes its so-called “nine-dash line” to assert its rights over the entire South China Sea.

An international tribunal in The Hague declared the claim “without legal basis” under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, signed by Beijing, after the Philippines also had legal claims over parts of the South China Sea. Take action against Beijing.

Washington has been stepping up its rhetoric and diplomatic efforts to challenge Beijing on several issues, including questioning Reports of mass detention of Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang And Hong Kong has passed a national security law since Joe Biden took office a year ago.

It also dispatched several aircraft carriers and battleships to make claims “Freedom of Navigation” rights in the South China Sea, while also cementing alliances with other regional powers such as India, Japan and Australia. Indo-Pacific Group of Four.

Competitors claim

In addition to China, Taiwan and neighboring countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia also claim parts of the South China Sea.

In recent years, China has strengthened its military presence in the region, building artificial islands and air bases, where it installed missile systems and other equipment.

China’s so-called maritime militia has been deployed and accused of ‘harassing’ fishermen from the Philippines and the Philippines “Swarming” Part of the waters within Manila’s exclusive economic zone. in October, Malaysia has accused China of “encroaching” on its waters.

These activities have turned resource-rich regional waters into potential flashpoints that could disrupt as much as $5 trillion in global trade.

The latest State Department report also questioned China’s “sovereignty” claims over more than 100 South China Sea islands and reefs that are submerged below the surface at high tide.

“Such claims are inconsistent with international law, under which these features are not legitimate claims of sovereignty and cannot give rise to maritime areas such as territorial waters,” the report said.

WhitsundayA Chinese vessel believed to be operated by members of the Chinese maritime militia is seen in Whitsunday Reef, within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, in April 2021 [Philippine Coast Guard via Reuters].

China has been using its claims to these features to map or claim the right to map, “Linear Baseline” and claim to have territorial waters.

“None of the four ‘island groups’ China has sovereignty over in the South China Sea meets the UNCLOS geographic criteria for using a straight baseline,” the US said.

“There is no separate system of customary international law that supports China’s position that it may include the entire group of islands in a straight baseline,” the report said.

“International law does not allow” China’s claims to internal waters, territorial waters, exclusive economic zones and continental shelves “based on treating each claimed South China Sea island group as a whole”.

“In the waters it claims, China has also made numerous jurisdictional claims that are inconsistent with international law,” the report said.

China has yet to respond to the report, but has repeatedly rejected The Hague’s 2016 ruling rejecting the “nine-dash line” while insisting on its “historic rights” over the South China Sea.

In the past, it has said its military presence in the South China Sea is “entirely for self-defense” and has no intention of “dominating” or “building a sphere of influence” in the region.