International Law in Brief
U.S. Announces Position on South China Sea Maritime Claims
By: Justine N. Stefanelli | July 15, 2020 - 12:18pm
On July 13, 2020, Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, announced that the U.S. considers that “Beijing’s claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful…” The statement issued on Monday explained that the U.S. is “aligning [its] position on the [People’s Republic of China’s] maritime claims in the [South China Sea] with the [Arbitral] Tribunal’s decision of 2016, highlighting three aspects in particular addressing (1) PRC assertions of maritime claims in relation to the Philippines; (2) U.S. rejection of PRC claims to “waters beyond a 12-nautical mile territorial sea derived from islands it claims in the Spratly Islands” (and related waters); and (3) the PRC’s lack of a lawful “territorial or maritime claim to (or derived from) James Shoal.” The statement concluded: “We stand with the international community in defense of freedom of the seas and respect for sovereignty and reject any push to impose ‘might makes right’ in the South China Sea or the wider region.