Allies have expressed “strong concern” about China’s “problematic and unilateral actions” in disputed waters in the Asia Pacific and said they would work together on this issue.
In a joint statement after a high-level meeting between the US Deputy Secretary of State – Wendy Sherman and Mr. Stefano Sannino – Secretary-General of the EU’s Foreign Service, the two sides informed China’s actions in the South and the East China Sea as well as Taiwan Strait “undermines peace and security in the region and has a direct impact on the security and prosperity of both the United States and the EU.”
China claims almost the entire South China Sea despite The International Court Ruling in 2016 rejecting its claim. China has been developing artificial islands and military outposts in the waters supported by its Coast Guard and maritime militia.
This action has led to confrontations with other claimants in the South China Sea, most recently in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone at Second Thomas Shoal.
Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei also claim some areas in the South China Sea (Vietnam calls it the East Sea). US ships have also been conducting “freedom of navigation” patrols in the area, which is one of the world’s most important trade routes.
China condemns these US patrols and calls them an act of destabilization in the region.