07.12.16

Gardner, Colleagues Introduce Resolution on South China Sea

Senators Reaffirm Support for Tribunal Ruling

Washington, DC – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, today introduced a resolution with Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), Joni Ernst (R-IA), John McCain (R-AZ), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) calling for all parties to respect the arbitral tribunal ruling with regard to the South China Sea and to express U.S. policy on freedom of navigation and overflight in the East and South China Seas.

Earlier today, an international arbitral tribunal issued a binding ruling in the case of the Republic of Philippines against the People’s Republic of China regarding the dispute over the maritime jurisdiction of the South China Sea. The tribunal, which sided with the Philippines and invalidated China’s “nine-dash line,” concluded in its decision “as between the Philippines and China, China’s claims to historic rights, or other sovereign rights or jurisdiction, with respect to the maritime areas of the South China Sea encompassed by the relevant part of the ‘nine-dash line’ are contrary to the Convention and without lawful effect.”

In addition to formally supporting the tribunal ruling, the resolution “urges all parties take action to implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and take steps towards early conclusion of a meaningful Code of Conduct, which would provide agreed upon rules of the road to reduce tension among claimant states.” The legislation also opposes any actions in the South China Sea to change the status quo through coercion or force; calls on China to cease all reclamation and militarization activities in the South China Sea; reaffirms the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the U.S. and the Philippines; urges the Secretary of State to use all diplomatic channels to communicate U.S. support for freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea; and urges the Secretary of Defense to routinely enforce freedom of navigation and overflight in the East and South China Seas. 

In reaction to the release of the ruling, Gardner previously stated, “This ruling is important because it confirms that China's actions and claims in the South China Sea are contrary to international law. China must abide by the decisions of the tribunal and cease all reclamation and militarization activities in the South China Sea that violate the sovereignty of its neighbors and undermine peace and stability in the region. I urge the Administration to intensify the work with our allies toward a peaceful resolution of all outstanding claims and to routinely assert the international rights of freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea.”

The text of the resolution can be found here.

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.

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