WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, a Hague-based international tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines and dealt a major blow to China, concluding that Beijing’s so-called nine-dash line, which encompasses roughly 85% of the South China Sea, has no legal basis.
Following the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s 500-page ruling, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee US Sen. John McCain of Arizona released a statement.
Rear Adm. Michael McDevitt of the US Navy (Ret.) read McCain’s statement during opening remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ sixth annual South China Sea conference.
McDevitt described it as a clear and stern view of America’s stance on the ruling South China Sea (emphasis added):
In light of the findings of this ruling, we expect that the United States military will continue to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows, as we have done in the Western Pacific for more than a century. This includes regularly challenging China’s excessive maritime claims and maintaining a persistent presence of surface combatants and rotational aviation assets inside the first-island chain.
Moreover the United States government must clearly communicate our interests in the South China Sea, including the prevention of reclamation and militarization at strategic locations like Scarborough Shoal that would alter the status quo and potentially destabilize the region.