Washington: We strengthening UIS policy in a vital, contentious part of that region, the South China Sea, Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said in a statement. We are making clear Beijing’s claims to offshore resources across most of South China Sea are completely unlawful as its campaign of bullying to control them, Pompeo also added.
The US was aligning itself Pompeo added with a 2016 order of Arbitral Tribunal constituted under the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention that had rejected China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea.
China has claimed 85 per cent of the South China Sea in the Nine Dashed Line- a Chinese cartographic inscription from 1947. It was modified to its present form in 1952, that extends 2,000 kilometres from the Chinese mainland, up to a few 100 kilometres from the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia. The claim was rejected by a tribunal in 2016.
The hardening of the US stand comes amidst a recent spike in tensions, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Trump administration had sought to blame China for it and said that the country had mishandled the outbreak.