|| Ranking Member Eni Faleomavaega of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific announced today that he has introduced H.R. 6313 to promote peaceful and collaborative resolution of maritime territorial disputes in the South China Sea and its environs and other maritime areas adjacent to the East Asian mainland. Earlier this year, Chairman Ros-Lehtinen introduced H. Res. 352 also calling for a peaceful resolution of the South China Sea dispute, and the Resolution now has 28 cosponsors.
“As an original cosponsor of Chairman Ros-Lehtinen’s resolution, we agreed to re-introduce H. Res. 352 as a bill in response to protracted tension in the region,” Faleomavaega said. “We re-introduced this legislation as a bill, rather than a resolution, to show how serious this matter is to us. The text of our legislation is the same but includes updated information to reflect the escalation of China’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea.”
“China continues to coerce and intimidate its neighbors, and I have grave concerns about China’s expansive territorial claims, which have no basis in international law. Following unresolved conflict with the Philippines, as of June 2012 China approved the establishment of a prefecture-level government in the city of Sansha to oversee the areas claimed by China in the South China Sea. The Sansha City prefectural zone is in an area that is also claimed by Vietnam.”
“On June 23, 2012, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation invited bids for oil exploration in areas within 200 nautical miles of the continental shelf and exclusive economic zone of Vietnam.”
“On June 28, 2012, the Chinese Defense Ministry announced that military authorities were considering establishing a military presence in the prefecture capitol of Sansha.”
“Also on June 28, Chinese military press spokesman Senior Colonel Geng Yansheng announced that the PLA has begun ‘regular, combat ready patrols’ in the South China Sea.”
“On July 11, 2012, Chinese patrol ships were spotted near the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. When the Japanese coast guard told the Chinese ships to leave, the crew told them, ‘We are conducting official duty in Chinese waters. Do not interfere. Leave China’s territorial waters.’”
“Japan’s Vice Foreign Minister Kenichrio Sasae called the exchanged ‘extremely serious’ and ‘unacceptable.’”
“I consider China’s actions to be provocative and, like Secretary Clinton, I call upon China to work collaboratively and diplomatically to resolve these disputes without coercion, threat, or intimidation and, above all, without the use of force.
“When it comes to U.S.-China relations, I stand on a record of being fair. But I will not stand for aggression in the South China Sea, and neither will my colleagues. Although not a party to these disputes, the United States has a national economic and security interest in maintaining peace, stability and prosperity in East Asia.”
“As a world power, China also has a shared interest in promoting peace, and this is why I urge China to refrain from unilateral provocations and immediately enter negotiations with ASEAN on a legally binding code of conduct,” Faleomavaega concluded.