WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific, released the following statement Friday:
“China’s seizure of an U.S. Navy unmanned scientific research submersible in international waters off the South China Sea is a remarkably brazen violation of international law. No matter its motivation, China needs to explain its actions and immediately return the undersea drone, untampered with, to the United States.
“China’s increasingly aggressive behavior in the South China Sea – including the militarization of the artificial features that it has built in the region, in direct contradiction of a pledge made by President Xi not to do so – is deeply disturbing, and not consistent with the actions of a nation seeking to build a constructive and cooperative relationship with the United States.
“The United States has a deep and abiding interest in freedom of navigation and the free-flow of commerce in the Asia-Pacific region, and a stead-fast commitment to our regional allies and partners in maintaining stability, security and the rule of law, including safe passage in international waters. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate when we reconvene next year to make sure that U.S. policy and resources are aligned for this goal.”