A strategic and economic dialogue in Washington held last week between the United States and China on how both countries can settle the rising tensions in South China Sea.
The United States made it clear to support China 100 percent if they can prove that it owns the islets, shoals and reefs that are at the heart of a dispute with the Philippines and other neighbors. US Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said.
United States did not have a position on any of the merits of conflicting claims in the South China Sea, “but how the claims are pursued makes a big difference.”Blinken said.
“We’re witnessing efforts to unilaterally and coercively change the status quo – transgressions that the United States and our allies and partners stand united against.” Blinken added.
“The Chinese say that their claims are clear and undisputed – they’re not even claims, they’re just facts. And we’ve said, ‘great, if you demonstrate that, we’ll back you 100 percent.’ But you can’t expect other countries to engage in some kind of diplomatic process that goes nowhere where you create what are, in effect, facts on the sea,” he said in a speech on Friday at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington-based think tank.
US State Department and the Pentagon officials see the situation in the South China Sea as fraught with danger because of rising tensions between China and five of its neighbors over ownership of disputed maritime features.
The claimants have been building new artificial islands on submerged features of the sea and then claiming them for their own but China is building faster and more aggressively than anyone else and has recently put military hardware and a runway on reclaimed land.
He called on all of the claimants to maritime territories in the sea to freeze their reclamation activities, the construction that goes on the artificial islands and any militarization, whether for defensive or other purposes.
“If you do that, you create the time and space to actually resolve the differences that exist through peaceful means, whether it’s arbitration, whether it’s adjudication, whether it’s by bilateral means,” he said.