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US govt asked to ensure SCS tribunal verdict is implemented

The US must ensure that the international tribunal ruling against China’s claims to rights in the South China Sea is implemented and if needed reinforce its military assets to maintain the “status quo” in the strategic region, top American lawmakers have said.

Senator Joni Ernst led a group of six Republican Senators in introducing a resolution calling on all parties to respect The Hague-based tribunal’s verdict that there was no evidence that China had historic rights to the waters or resources that fell within its “nine-dash line”. The resolution opposes any action in the South China Sea “to change the status quo through coercion or force,” calls on China to cease all reclamation and militarisation activities in the South China Sea and reaffirms the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the US and the Philippines. It calls on Secretary of State John Kerry to use “all diplomatic channels” to communicate support for freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea.

It urges Secretary of Defence Ash Carter to “routinely enforce” freedom of navigation and overflight in the East and South China Seas. “It is abundantly clear that China’s land reclamation and militarisation in the region must continue to be opposed, and that they must not continue down the path of destabilisation in such a critical region. The US will continue to stand with the Philippines against China’s actions,” Senator Ernst said. Other senators who introduced the resolution were Marco Rubio, Cory Gardner, Tom Cotton, John McCain and Dan Sullivan. 
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