Blinken Levels Criticism at China Over South China Sea

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The Epoch Times

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday said that bullying is threatening rules-based maritime order in the South China Sea, in a thinly veiled criticism of the Chinese regime.

“In the South China Sea, we have seen dangerous encounters between vessels at sea and provocative actions to advance unlawful maritime claims,” Blinken said. “The United States has made clear its concerns regarding actions that intimidate and bully other states from lawfully accessing their maritime resources.”

“Efforts to resolve maritime disputes through threat or use of force flout these principles,” Blinken added, referring to principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter.

Blinken made the remarks during a United Nations Security Council meeting on maritime security on Aug. 9. The online meeting was chaired by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“When a state faces no consequences for ignoring these rules, it fuels greater impunity and instability everywhere,” he warned.

The Chinese regime has continued to be aggressive in staking its claims in the South China Sea despite a 2016 international ruling. That year, The Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration rejected China’s “Nine-dash line” claim to about 85 percent of the South China Sea’s 2.2 million square miles. The ruling stated that Beijing’s territorial claims were inconsistent with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

In March, more than 200 Chinese vessels—believed to be crewed by Beijing’s maritime militia— moored at Whitsun Reef, one of the disputed reefs, islands, and atolls in the South China Sea that are claimed by Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

The gathering of Chinese vessels drew condemnation from Vietnam and the Philippines, which both said that China had violated their territorial sovereignty. State Department spokesperson Ned Price also weighed in, calling on China to “stop using its maritime militia to intimidate and provoke others” on Twitter.

In early July, Reuters reported Beijing’s growing presence in waters around the Philippines, as Filipino fishermen complained of how they were either followed, being rammed, or blasted with water cannons by Chinese vessels.

By Frank Fang

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