In July 2020, Michael Pompeo, who was then secretary of state, said the US administration considered almost all of Beijing’s resource claims on the South China Sea floor illegal
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken reiterated the position voiced in 2020 by the previous Washington administration that China had no right to claim resources on the bottom of the South China Sea. A statement to this effect was released by the State Department press office on Sunday.
“Nowhere is rule-based maritime order more threatened than in the South China Sea. The PRC continues to coerce and intimidate Southeast Asian coastal states, threatening freedom of navigation <…>”, – Blinken argued. – “The United States reaffirms its July 13, 2020 policy on [territorial] claims in the South China Sea”, – he added.
In July 2020, Michael Pompeo, who was then secretary of state, said the US administration considered virtually all of Beijing’s resource claims on the South China Sea floor illegal. He recalled that in July 2016, an international tribunal, mediated by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, ruled in a suit by the Philippines that China’s claims to territory in the South China Sea were without merit.
Beijing has been in dispute for decades with several countries in the region over the territorial ownership of a number of islands in the South China Sea, offshore of which substantial hydrocarbon reserves have been found. I am referring primarily to the Sisha Archipelago (Paracel Islands) and the islands of Nansha and Huangyan (Scarborough Reef). Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines are also involved to varying degrees in the dispute. Since late 2013, China has been carrying out extensive hydraulic engineering and construction work to create artificial islands as well as to expand and develop these areas. Washington accuses Beijing of militarising the South China Sea. The PRC rejects such findings.