US should challenge Chinese claims within multilateral fora like UNCLOS because China responds best to multilateral pressure
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In addition, official US statements in the future need to challenge Chinese assertions that China’s position has a legal basis, whereas the US position is merely derived from its hegemonic interests. The US should encourage all countries that value its position on international maritime law or just want to discourage Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea to openly support the US position. According to the Department of Defense Maritime Claims Reference Manual, of the 150 states with maritime claims, 127 states recognize the right of all states to undertake military activities in the EEZ and only 22 side with China by making some form of claim to regulate foreign military activities in their EEZ.94 Joint statements made with Asian leaders and with leaders of developing countries supporting the US interpretation of EEZ rights would weaken China’s argument that the US position hurts the interests of the less powerful. Moreover, China tends to cooperate more with broad international efforts than with unilateral US efforts.95 The US should consider addressing China’s position on UNCLOS and related provocative behavior in multilateral forums such as the United Nations and encouraging regional allies to bring up the issue through regional institutions such as ASEAN. In that regard, the Obama administration’s recent offer to facilitate multilateral talks between China and its Southeast Asian neighbors about the territorial status of islands in the South China Sea is a step in the right direction.
"Signaling and Military Provocation in Chinese National Security Strategy: A Closer Look at the Impeccable Incident
." The Journal of Strategic Studies
. Vol. 34, No. 2 (April 2011): 219-244. [ More (4 quotes) ]