China Talk vs. Walk

Other nations expect China to comply with the international law of the sea despite the country’s announced rejection of an unfavorable ruling on its territorial claims in the South China Sea, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel told reporters Wednesday. In July, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled in favor of the Philippines in a dispute over China’s claim to sovereignty over several rocky outcroppings in the South China Sea, but China argued the court had no jurisdiction and has continued to assert its claims of sovereignty. “These claims have lost any credibility, they’ve lost traction, and instead, the expectations have grown that even if China will not stand up and admit that the duly constituted tribunal under a treaty that China signed and ratified has examined its arguments and rejected them…even if China won’t state these things publicly, there is a growing expectation that China will act in a way that doesn’t contravene the legal decision,” Russel said during. He said the issue was a central topic of discussion during the recent East Asia Summit and meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Earlier in October, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the United States and partner nations are increasing coordination among their navies to ensure “open and secure” waterways. Russel said the US Navy has kept a steady tempo of operations in the South China Sea and suggested the Pentagon doesn’t announce every freedom of navigation operation in the region. “Of course we can go anywhere that international law allows. And we do. And we will,” he said. “That’s not good enough. Everybody else needs to be able to do the same thing.”