The United States and the European Union have expressed “strong concern” over what they said were China’s “problematic and unilateral actions” in disputed seas in the Asia Pacific, saying they would work together to manage their rivalry with Beijing.
In a joint statement following a high-level meeting between top diplomats Wendy Sherman, deputy secretary of state, and Stefano Sannino, European External Action Service secretary general, the two said China’s actions in the South China Sea, East China Seas and Taiwan Strait “undermine peace and security in the region and have a direct impact on the security and prosperity of both the United States and European Union.”
China claims the South China Sea almost in its entirety despite an international court ruling that rejected its historical claim. The country has been developing artificial islands and military outposts in the waters backed up by its Coast Guard and its so-called maritime militia. Its assertive posture has led to confrontations with other countries that claim the sea, most recently in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone at Second Thomas Shoal.