Sea: Wash­ing­ton didn’t rat­ify rules it cites, ex­pert says

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Top News - Hig­gins, An­ti­etam Con­tact the writ­ers at chen­jia@chi­nadaily.com.cn

He, also head of the Chi­nese del­e­ga­tion to the Shangri-La Di­a­logue, said that China’s de­ploy­ing de­fense fa­cil­i­ties on its own is­lands in the re­gion is nec­es­sary and a le­git­i­mate right granted to sov­er­eign na­tions by in­ter­na­tional laws.

On May 27, two US naval ves­sels — the de­stroyer USS and the cruiser USS — en­tered with­out per­mis­sion within 12 nau­ti­cal miles of China’s Xisha Is­lands. The Chi­nese mil­i­tary im­me­di­ately dis­patched naval ships and air­craft to ver­ify the US war­ships and warn them off, ac­cord­ing to China’s De­fense Min­istry.

Xia Lip­ing, dean of the In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional and Public Af­fairs at Shang­hai-based Tongji Univer­sity, said the US is not a claimant in the South China Sea, nor has it rat­i­fied the United Na­tions Con­ven­tion on the Law of the Sea, the in­ter­na­tional le­gal frame­work de­signed to reg­u­late mar­itime af­fairs.

How­ever, the US has been “se­lec­tively us­ing clauses from the con­ven­tion that ben­e­fits its own strate­gic in­ter­ests”, he said.

While the con­ven­tion grants a cer­tain de­gree of nav­i­ga­tional free­dom, it also asks ships to re­spect the se­cu­rity in­ter­ests and mar­itime laws of other na­tions be­fore pass­ing. “But the US is up­hold­ing the for­mer clause while ig­nor­ing the lat­ter,” Xia said.

Chi­nese laws re­quire for­eign mil­i­tary ves­sels to re­port and ask for per­mis­sion when pass­ing through China’s wa­ters, so it is un­rea­son­able for the US to ask other na­tions to carry out free­dom-of-nav­i­ga­tion pa­trols in the South China Sea.

“It is like ask­ing oth­ers to be can­non fod­der and break in­ter­na­tional and Chi­nese laws to­gether,” he said.

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