WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated on Wednesday the United States will support countries that believe China has actually breached their maritime declares in the South China Sea but recommended it would do so through diplomatic instead of military ways.
” We will support nations all across the world who acknowledge that China has actually broken their legal territorial claims too– or maritime claims as well,” Pompeo told press reporters.
” We will go provide them the support we can, whether that remains in multilateral bodies, whether that remains in ASEAN, whether that’s through legal responses, we will use all the tools we can,” he stated at a press conference, describing the 10- member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
The United States on Monday rejected China’s claims to overseas resources in the majority of the South China Sea, drawing criticism from China which said the U.S. position raised tension in the region, highlighting a progressively testy relationship.
Monday’s declaration showed the very first time the United States had taken the position that China’s claims to the South China sea were “completely illegal.”
The United States has long opposed China’s expansive territorial claims on the South China Sea, sending out warships
regularly through the tactical waterway to show flexibility of navigation there. Monday’s remarks reflect a harsher tone.
China claims 90%of the possibly energy-rich South China Sea, but Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also claimed parts of it.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks throughout a news conference at the State Department in Washington, D.C., U.S., July 15,2020 Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS
On Wednesday, Vietnam’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Le Thi Thu Hang, stated in response to the solidified U.S. rhetoric on the area that Vietnam welcomed any views on the South China Sea that were in accordance with worldwide law.
” Peace, stability, cooperation and advancement in the South China Sea are the common aspirations and goals of countries in the area and the worldwide neighborhood.”
Reporting by Arshad Mohammed and Humeyra Pamuk in Washington; Extra reporting by James Pearson in Hanoi; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Matthew Lewis