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U.S. does not recognize Chinese artificial islands in East Vietnam Sea: McCain

Saturday, May 30, 2015, 13:50 GMT+7

The U.S. will never recognize China’s “sovereignty” over the artificial islands it has illegally built in the East Vietnam Sea, U.S. Senator John McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Friday.

>> China plots to legalize illicit sovereignty claims with East Vietnam Sea lighthouses: experts

The U.S. official was speaking to a press briefing in Ho Chi Minh City during his Vietnam visit, where he is accompanied by other U.S. senators including Jack Reed, Joni Earst and Dan Sullivan.

China has deployed artillery to the man-made island that its forces have illegally built atop some submerged reefs that belong to Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago in the East Vietnam Sea, Senator McCain told reporters. 

Such an action was very worrying and this unilateral action by China will escalate the tension in the sea area, he pressed.

China should be made aware that its acts have seriously violated international law and the principles of conducts at sea agreed between China and ASEAN, the U.S. senator added.

The whole world will condemn China for such acts, which not only defy Vietnam’s sovereignty but also affect the U.S.’s national interests, he underlined.

He emphasized that the U.S. will not yield to this challenge from China.

McCain said protests against China’s acts should be raised at international organizations and forums, such as the United Nations.

Regional countries should coordinate their diplomatic and economic resources to put pressure on Beijing to stop its wrongdoings, he said, adding that he believes the U.S. can help regional countries such as Vietnam and the Philippines improve their maritime capabilities.

Many American people support the U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter’s announcement that the U.S. will deploy planes and ships to any areas in the world in accordance to the international law, McCain said.

He added that the Chinese Government should clearly understand this message.

Senator Jack Reed also commented that China has violated the basic rules of international law.

At the 14th Shangri-La Dialogue, which is taking place in Singapore, the U.S. will affirm that China has escalated tension in the East Vietnam Sea by deploying artilleries to their illegal man-made islands in the sea area, McCain said.

The U.S. will condemn such an act as it violated international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, he said.

The U.S. will strengthen relations with regional countries including Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia to ensure that China needs to respect international law, the official added.

Meanwhile, Senator Dan Sullivan commented that China’s aggressive acts have made China isolated from the international community.

No countries support China's illegal building of artificial islands in the East Vietnam Sea, he said, adding that this is not a bilateral issue between the U.S. and China, but a common issue of the region and the world.

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