US, Japan reiterate commitment to maintain rules-based order in South China Sea
While China continues to conduct military activities in the South China Sea, US Defence Secretary Mark Esper and Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono have reiterated their commitment to maintain a ‘rules-based order’ in the East and South China Seas.
“Secretary Esper and Minister Kono exchanged views on their shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region. The Secretary expressed serious concern regarding Beijing’s decision to impose a national security law in Hong Kong, as well as coercive and destabilising actions vis-a-vis Taiwan,” said an official statement by the US Department of Defence.
“Both ministers restated their commitment to maintain a rules-based order in the East and South China Seas, and more broadly in the region and world. The Secretary welcomed Japan’s efforts to strengthen cooperation with other like-minded partners, including members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), India, Australia and trilaterally with the United States and the Republic of Korea,” it stated.
Recently, China fired two missiles including an “aircraft-carrier killer” into the South China Sea as an act of “warning” to the United States after a US spy plane allegedly intruded into its army’s no-fly airspace.
This military exercise is the latest in a long string of China’s actions to assert unlawful maritime claims and disadvantage its Southeast Asian neighbours in the South China Sea, according to the US Defence Department.
Senior Colonel Li Huamin, a spokesperson for the PLA Southern Theater Command was quoted as saying, “China has undisputable sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and their adjacent waters in the region, and the command troops are always on high alert to resolutely protect national sovereignty and safeguard peace and stability in the region of the South China Sea.”