US Concerned About China's 'coercive Activity' In South China Sea - Eastern Mirror
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US concerned about China’s ‘coercive activity’ in South China Sea

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By IANS Updated: Jun 02, 2024 6:20 pm
South China Sea

SINGAPORE — US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin on Sunday reiterated concerns about China’s “coercive activity” in the South China Sea, calling on Beijing to abide by the final and “legally binding” 2016 South China Sea Arbitral Tribunal Award.

Austin also expressed Washington’s “deep concern” about the escalating violence in Myanmar during a meeting with the defence ministers from Southeast Asia held on the sidelines of the 21st Shangri-La Dialogue.

Defence Ministers from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Timor-Leste participated in the meeting to discuss opportunities to advance regional peace and stability.

During the meeting, Austin spoke about sustaining a rules-based regional security environment and reaffirmed the US’ strong commitment to the region.

He assured that Washington would continue its engagement with the Southeast Asian region and enhance defence cooperation amongst ASEAN countries, including through the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM)-Plus, to tackle shared security challenges in the Indo-Pacific.

“Secretary Austin reiterated concerns about coercive activity by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the South China Sea. He underscored the importance of respect for high seas freedom of navigation guaranteed under international law, and he called on the PRC to abide by the final and legally binding 2016 South China Sea Arbitral Tribunal Award,” Pentagon Press Secretary Major General Pat Ryder stated in a readout after the meeting.

India too has been playing an active role in ADMM-Plus, the highest defence consultative and cooperative mechanism in ASEAN.

Last November, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh visited the Indonesian capital Jakarta to attend the 10th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus).

The platform to strengthen security and defence cooperation includes ASEAN member states (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and eight Dialogue Partners (India, US, China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand).

6091
By IANS Updated: Jun 02, 2024 6:20:51 pm
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