China said it will assert its rights over islands in the South China Sea while maintaining its compliance with international laws and the UNCLOS. (Photo : Reuters)
The United States wants China to behave ahead of the international court ruling on the South China Sea maritime dispute, but some believe that the Western country is in no position to comment.
A Reuters report featured strong statements from the U.S. as represented by deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asia Colin Willett.
According to Willett, Washington is gearing up for the upcoming ruling and China’s reaction to it, saying that they have “a lot of options” in responding to the Asian country’s actions in the South China Sea.
She also emphasized that the U.S. has “very clear national interests in the area,” adding that it is their prerogative to uphold and defend those whom they share commitments with.
Based on her statement, Willett is referring to the U.S.’s alliance with the Philippines, the archipelago that is grappling with China over the Spratly Islands.
While she did not give any details on what the U.S. may do once Beijing makes another provocative move, Willett urged the Eastern nation to respect the ruling.
However, South China Morning Post contributor Mark Shulman believes that the U.S. is far from credible in terms of making such warnings.
According to Shulman, the U.S. “has a highly mixed record about compliance with the dictates of international law, even as it has led its formation and its enforcement against others.”
He noted that this fact based on historical events may lead Beijing to reasonably question the actual motive behind the U.S.’s continued meddling with South China Sea affairs.
He also pointed out that while the U.S. had been loudly speaking in support for the Philippines’ case against Beijing in the South China Sea territorial bouts, the Western country has yet to ratify the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the very instrument that the archipelago is using to contend China’s claims.
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