Regarding the People’s Republic of China’s attempted seizure of the East, and in particular, the South China Sea and the associated PRC seizure of seabed minerals, below the seabed oil and gas deposits, and surface fishing rights,
The US said it doesn’t take a position on sovereignty over the South China Sea but insists on freedom of navigation and overflight. About 30 percent of global trade passes through the South China Sea, which also has rich fishing grounds and a potential wealth of undersea mineral deposits.
We need to take a position on sovereignty over the South China Sea, exactly for sovereignty, that international trade, those fishing rights, and those minerals and oil and gas deposits.
We say we’re for freedom of the seas, but that begins with recognition of what are international waters and what are not. The South China Sea, and the East China Sea, are international waters, not internal lakes of this or that country.
Various nations’ Exclusive Economic Zones extend far into the Seas. Various nations have far more legitimate territorial claims to a number of the islands in those Seas.
We should be working with those nations—Brunei, the Philippines, Vietnam, Japan, Malaysia, et al.—to help them resolve their disagreements over whose territory those islands are, we should be working with those nations to help them resolve their disputes over Economic Zone overlaps.
Given the PRC’s open lawlessness regarding those waters and those islands, we should be working these dispute resolutions with the explicit exclusion of the PRC in those talks.