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U.S. Senate Unanimously Passes Resolution Calling for “Self-restraint” in South China Sea Disputes

 Senator Webb amended resolution to raise concerns over China’s recent unilateral actions to assert control of territory

Washington, DC—The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution (S. Res. 524) last night declaring that China’s recent actions to unilaterally assert control of disputed territories in the South China Sea “are contrary to agreed upon principles with regard to resolving disputes and impede a peaceful resolution.” Senator Jim Webb, chair of the Foreign Relations East Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee, was an original cosponsor of the resolution and led an amendment addressing China's provocative actions. Last week, he urged the U.S. State Department to clarify whether China’s actions were a violation of international law.

Press Statement: South China Sea

 As a Pacific nation and resident power, the United States has a national interest in the maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law, freedom of navigation, and unimpeded lawful commerce in the South China Sea. We do not take a position on competing territorial claims over land features and have no territorial ambitions in the South China Sea; however, we believe the nations of the region should work collaboratively and diplomatically to resolve disputes without coercion, without intimidation, without threats, and without the use of force.

Guidelines for the Implementation of the DOC 2011

Reaffirming that the DOC is a milestone document signed between the ASEAN Member States and China, embodying their collective commitment to promoting peace, stability and mutual trust and to ensuring the peaceful resolution of disputes in the South China Sea;

DECLARATION ON THE CONDUCT OF PARTIES IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA 2002 (DOC)

The Governments of the Member States of ASEAN and the Government of the People's Republic of China,

REAFFIRMING their determination to consolidate and develop the friendship and cooperation existing between their people and governments with the view to promoting a 21st century-oriented partnership of good neighbourliness and mutual trust;

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 (UNCLOS)

The States Parties to this Convention,

Prompted by the desire to settle, in a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation, all issues relating to the law of the sea and aware of the historic significance of this Convention as an important contribution to the maintenance of peace, justice and progress for all peoples of the world,

ASEAN’s Six-Point Principles on the South China Sea

As a result of consultations among the ASEAN Foreign Ministers, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers issue the following:

“ASEAN’s Six-Point Principles on the South China Sea

ASEAN Foreign Ministers reiterate and reaffirm the commitment of ASEAN Member States to:

[Video] Press Availability in Phnom Penh

 Hillary ClintonSECRETARY CLINTON: [...]One of the other issues we discussed in particular underscores the value of these multilateral institutions and also the importance of establishing clear regional norms, and that is the South China Sea. As you know, the United States has no territorial claims in the South China Sea, and we do not take sides in disputes about territorial or maritime boundaries, but we do have a fundamental interest in freedom of navigation, the maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law, and unimpeded lawful commerce. And we believe the nations of the region should work collaboratively and diplomatically to resolve disputes without coercion, without intimidation, without threats, and certainly without the use of force.

[Video] The South China Sea and Asia Pacific in Transition

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(From CSIS.org) The South China Sea and Asia Pacific in Transition - Exploring Options for Managing Disputes: The CSIS Southeast Asia Program hosted its second annual conference on Maritime Security in the South China Sea June 27-28, 2012.

 The conference is a timely policy level discussion of the complex and important issues around the South China Sea. The program took place a week before Secretary of State Clinton departs for the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and Post-Ministerial Conference (PMC) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

[Video] South China Sea: Maritime Lanes and Territorial Claims

Asia Society conference 4.6.12Asiasociety.org: An area known by three different names South China Sea, East Sea and West Philippine Sea - the waters surrounding the Spratly and Paracel Islands are some of the most contested in the world owing largely to the energy reserves believed to lie beneath them. China, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam and Brunei all have claims to this area.

[Video] Secretary Clinton Testifies on the Law of the Sea Convention

Hillary ClintonSECRETARY CLINTON: [...] I’m sure you have followed the claims countries are making in the South China Sea. Although we do not have territory there, we have vital interests, particularly freedom of navigation. And I can report from the diplomatic trenches that as a party to the convention, we would have greater credibility in invoking the convention’s rules and a greater ability to enforce them.

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