Wed, 25 May 2022

Washington [US], January 25 (ANI): China has not provided any legal basis for its claims in the South China Sea (SCS), the acting US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans, Fisheries, and Polar Affairs said on Monday, reiterating Washington's stand against China's "unlawful" maritime claims in the region.

China's claim of a wide swathe of the South China Sea is inconsistent with the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention, according to the US State Department.

"The United States reiterates that China has not offered any legal basis to support its maritime claims," Constance Arvis told a briefing, as quoted Sputnik.

The US continues to call on China to cease its coercive activities, Arvis said. The deputy assistant secretary also stated that China's claims in the South China Sea have no basis in international law.

Jung Pak, deputy assistant secretary of state, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, added that Washington is committed to the region and will uphold the rights of allies and partners.

"US and Japan very much committed to freedom of navigation, other lawful uses of the sea," she stressed.

Beijing has been disputing for decades the status of a number of territories in the South China Sea to which it lays claim, primarily the Paracel and Spratly islands, and the Scarborough Shoal.

China considers the Spratly archipelago to be its territory, despite the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling which said there was no legal basis for China's maritime claims.

On Sunday, US aircraft carriers entered the SCS "to begin operations" amid heightened tensions arising between China and Taiwan.

The US Navy Carrier Strike Groups Carl Vinson and Abraham Lincoln will engage in operations aimed at strengthening maritime integrated-at-sea operations and combat readiness, according to a statement from the US Navy.

"Our ability to rapidly aggregate and work collectively alongside CSG 3, highlights the U.S. Navy's ability to deliver overwhelming maritime force, when called upon, to support a free and open Indo-Pacific region," Rear Admiral Dan Martin, commander of the strike group led by USS Carl Vinson, said in a statement. (ANI)

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