South China Sea is not Beijing’s ‘maritime empire’, says Pompeo

Washington D.C.: In one of the strongest attack by the United States on Beijing’s illegal territorial claims in the strategic waters of SCS, State Secretary Mike Pompeo on Saturday stressed that Washington’s policy in the region is crystal clear and said that the disputed territory in the South China Sea (SCS) is “not China’s maritime empire”.

“The United States’ policy is crystal clear: The South China Sea is not China’s maritime empire. If Beijing violates international law and free nations do nothing, history shows the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will simply take more territory. China Sea disputes must be resolved through international law,” Pompeo said in a tweet.

The South China Sea is grouped into three archipelagos. China claims almost the entire South China Sea as its sovereign territory and it has aggressively asserted its stake in recent years.

This comes weeks after the United States officially dismissed China’s claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea and termed Beijing’s campaign of bullying to control them as “completely unlawful.”

Earlier on July 13, Pompeo had issued a statement on the US position on Maritime claims in the South China Sea, saying that the Chinese government has no legal grounds to unilaterally impose its will on the region.

Washington announced that it is aligning the US position on the Chinese government’s claims in the South China sea with the 2016 Arbitral Tribunal’s decision.

The Trump administration has hardened its stance towards Beijing, especially as relations between the two global superpowers continue to deteriorate in wake of coronavirus pandemic as well as coercive behaviour with its neighbours, including India.

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