U.S would not recognize Chinese exclusion zone in S. China Sea

(April 4th, 2016) The United States has told China it will not recognize an exclusion zone in the South China Sea and would view such a move as “destabilizing,” U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work said.

Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea this still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft May 21, 2015. REUTERS/U.S. Navy/Handout via Reuters
Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea this still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft May 21, 2015. REUTERS/U.S. Navy/Handout via Reuters

In what might be a sign of a tougher stance, at least rhetorically, against China’s military expansionism in the South China Sea, the U.S. has emphasized that it won’t recognize any exclusion zone declared by China around the islands and reefs  that it has been seizing and building on in the sea, through which goes 30 percent of world merchandise trade.

And U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work said that America would view the declaration of any such zone as “destabilizing.’’

U.S. officials worry that an international court ruling expected  soon in a case brought by the Philippines against China over its South China Sea claims could prompt Beijing to declare an air-defense identification zone in the region, as it did in the East China Sea in 2013. The U.S. doesn’t recognize that zone.

America, Vietnam, the Philippines and Australia have been pushing back against China’s stepped-up efforts to become the dominant power in the South China Sea.