US should step up support over East Sea disputes: senator

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A US senator has called for the US to enhance military and political support to Southeast Asian countries faced with China's recent tension-raising acts in the East Sea.

 

The US should help members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) develop and deploy an early warning system and coastal vessels in contested waters, John McCain was quoted as saying by the AFP.

 

The US also should turn to diplomacy to help ASEAN nations sort out their own disputes and "establish a more unified front," he told the conference on the maritime security in the East Sea held by Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington D.C. on Monday and Tuesday.

 

Many international scholars also condemned China's baseless claims of sovereignty in the East Sea at the meeting.

 

Prof. Peter Dutton of the US Naval War College was quoted as saying by Vietnam News Agency that China violated international laws in claiming jurisdiction with the nine-dash line, or U-shaped line, with which the country lays claims to over 80 percent of the East Sea, without stating geographic features related to its coast.

 

He said a country's jurisdiction over sea waters isn't related to history, but has to be in line with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

 

According to Dutton, the U-shaped line, which has sparked many objections from China's neighboring countries like Vietnam and the Philippines, is one of the main reasons for the tension in the East Sea.

 

Prof. Carl Thayer from the Australian Defence College also said that China's use of historical materials to explain its sovereignty in the East Sea once again showed that it doesn't have enough international legal basis to support its claim.

 

International experts suggested countries involved in disputes should make concessions to solve them, saying joint-exploitation measures are ineffective because there is no agreement over which areas are in dispute, Vietnam News Agency reported.

 

Meanwhile, Dang Dinh Quy, director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, said ASEAN countries, China and other related countries need to improve sea and military co-operation via joint-patrol and joint-drills.

 

The countries also need to decrease purchases of weapons and conduct measures to build trust, Quy was quoted as saying by the Vietnamese news source.

 

China's recent acts in the East Sea, including harassing Vietnam ships within the latter's territorial waters, have raised security concerns among the international community. Many countries like the US and Japan have called for peaceful resolutions to disputes.

 

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