US fires fresh fusillade at China in South China Sea

MANILA – The United States has kicked off the year with a bang by stepping up both its naval and diplomatic efforts to constrain China’s maritime ambitions in the South China Sea.

In a new 47-page research paper, the US State Department called on Beijing “to cease its unlawful and coercive activities in the South China Sea” and decried the Asian power’s expansive claims in the area of “gravely undermin[ing] the rule of law in the oceans and numerous universally recognized provisions of international law reflected in the Convention.”

“The overall effect of these maritime claims is that the PRC [China] unlawfully claims sovereignty or some form of exclusive jurisdiction over most of the South China Sea,” said the paper while reminding China of its obligations as a party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

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