US, EU concerned at China’s ‘problematic’ actions in disputed sea

Dec 3, 2021: Allies say China’s assertive actions in South China Sea, East China Sea and Taiwan Strait ‘undermine’ peace and security in the region.

The United States and the European Union have expressed “grave concern” that China has “problematic and unilateral measures” in the disputed Asia-Pacific seas, and have said they will work together to resolve hostilities with Beijing. 

In a joint statement issued after a high-level meeting between top diplomats Wendy Sherman, Deputy Secretary of State and Secretary-General of the European External Action Service Stefano Sannino, the two said that China’s actions in the South China Sea, East China Seas and Taiwan Strait “undermine peace and security in the region and have a direct impact on the security and prosperity of both the United States and European Union.”

Despite the ruling of the International Court of Justice, China has almost completely claimed the South China Sea, which rejected its historic claim. The country is building artificial islands and military outposts in the water in collaboration with its coast guard and its so-called maritime militia. Its aggressive currency has led to clashes with other countries claiming the sea, most recently in the Philippine Second Special Economic Zone of Second Thomas Shoal.

Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei also claim parts of the sea, and US ships have been plying the region in the so-called “freedom of navigation”, one of the world’s most important trade routes.

The US-EU dialogue on China was established earlier this year, and the statement came after its second high-level meeting. Sharmin and Sannino discussed “China’s growing list of actions that are of concern, including those that violate international law and are against the shared values ​​and interests of the United States and the European Union.”

The meeting also noted the importance of diplomacy with China, particularly where interests intersect and where constructive cooperation is possible, such as climate, Iran and the Korean peninsula.

The next high-level meeting is expected to take place in mid-2022.

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