US Senate passes resolution on the East Sea

The US Senate on July 10 adopted a resolution coded S.RES.412 on the East Sea, requesting China to return immediately to the status quo as it existed before May 1, 2014.
The resolution reaffirms “the strong support of the United States Government for freedom of navigation and other internationally lawful uses of sea and airspace in the Asia-Pacific region, and for the peaceful diplomatic resolution of outstanding territorial and maritime claims and disputes”. 
It states that although the US is not a claimant party in the East Sea but it is a longstanding Asia-Pacific power and has a clear interest in encouraging and supporting the nations of the region to work collaboratively and diplomatically to resolve disputes and is firmly opposed to coercion, intimidation, threats, or the use of force. 
It emphasises the vital importance of the increasing frequency and assertiveness of patrols and competing regulations over disputed territory and maritime areas and airspace in the East Sea (South China Sea) and the East China Sea are raising tensions and increasing the risk of confrontation. 
Resolution S.RES.412 also lists a series of China ’s actions that violated international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). On May 1, 2014, the People’s Republic of China ’s state-owned energy company, CNOOC, placed its deepwater semi-submersible drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou-981, accompanied by over 25 Chinese ships, in Block 143, 120 nautical miles off Vietnam ’s coastline.
Then the number of Chinese vessels escorting the rig increased to more than 80, including seven military ships, which aggressively patrolled and intimidated Vietnamese Coast Guard ships, reportedly intentionally rammed multiple Vietnamese vessels, and used helicopters and water cannons to obstruct others. 
Vessels from the Maritime Safety Administration of China (MSAC) established an exclusion zone with a radius of three nautical miles around the rig. 
According to the resolution, China’s territorial claims and associated maritime actions in support of the drilling activity that Haiyang Shiyou-981commenced on May 1, 2014, have not been clarified under international law, including as defined by the 1982 UNCLOS, constitute a unilateral attempt to change the status quo by force, and appear to be in violation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC). 
The Senate condemns coercive and threatening actions or the use of force to impede freedom of operations and calls on the Chinese Government to withdraw its drilling rig and associated maritime forces from their current positions, and to return immediately to the status quo as it existed before May 1, 2014, it says. 
Relating to the tensions in the East China Sea, the resolution criticises China’s unilateral declaration of an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the Sea, considering it a violation of the Chicago Convention of the International Civil Aviation Organisation that has escalated tensions in China’s relations with regional countries like Japan and the Republic of Korea.-VNA