Washington: The US has said there is no anti-China grouping in the works as its recent military manoeuvres in South China Sea against Chinese maritime territorial claims has gained support from several countries in the region.
“No,” State Department Press Secretary John Kirby said when asked if there is an anti-China block forming in view of the recent developments in South China Sea given the fact that several countries are supporting its move.
“As I’ve said repeatedly here, that freedom of the seas is a fundamental principle which must be protected, and that is one of the reasons why the US Navy exists. They are operations in international waters and they are not meant to be nor should they be perceived to be by anybody as provocative,” he said.
The Asia Pacific rebalance that the US continue to pursue and the security aspects that it continues to observe in the Asia Pacific region are not aimed against or for any one nation.
“It’s about preserving our own national security interests in that part of the world, the national security interests of our allies and partners,” he said.
Five out of seven of US’s treaty alliances are in the Pacific region.
“So we have serious commitments there, and the are not aimed at China. They are aimed at trying to decrease tensions and preserve stability, because that region is so vital to the rest of the world – economically alone, but on other levels as well,” Kirby said.
Meanwhile, the White House reiterated that its military operation in South China is in accordance with international law.
“These operations are conducted in accordance with international law and applied evenhandedly around the globe,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said.
“Our policies are intended to advance our strategic objectives in the Asia Pacific region, including on maritime issues. This includes protecting the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea and airspace guaranteed to all nations under international law,” Schultz said.
“So I can tell you that the operation that was conducted that you’re referring to was the result of a rigorous inter-agency process designed to produce options for our leadership to ensure that was the case,” he said.
“As the President stated I believe in front of all of you that the United States is going to fly, sail, and operate anywhere where international law allows,” he added.