Washington, D.C. – A bipartisan group of Senators introduced a resolution today reaffirming support of the U.S. government for freedom of navigation in the Asia-Pacific region and for the peaceful diplomatic resolution of outstanding territorial and maritime disputes.
Senate Resolution 412 was introduced by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Marco Rubio (R-FL), James Risch (R-ID), and John McCain (R-AZ) – all members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
In recent years, the East and South China Seas – and the airspace above — have been the setting for a series of alarming developments. These maritime issues have created real tension and the potential for conflict in the region that could easily spill over into a broader regional conflict.
The United States has a vital interest in working with all nations in the region in developing, institutionalizing, and sustaining a rules-based order for the Asia-Pacific. That starts with a firm commitment to addressing these issues consistent with international law and norms of behavior, putting in place effective mechanisms to manage the maritime disputes, and supporting and encouraging the peaceful resolution of disputes in the Asia-Pacific maritime domain.
“In recent years, we’ve seen a dangerous course in the East and South China Seas. Without protocols in place, one small miscalculation could lead to devastating results that could threaten our economic and national security interests,” said Cardin. “We condemn any threat that prevents freedom of navigation or operations in international waters and airspace, and we urge all claimants to seek peaceful resolutions to disputes.”
“As an Asia-Pacific nation we have an abiding national security interest in the maintenance of regional stability,” said Menendez. “We also have an interest in the security of our allies and partners, in the freedom of navigation, free and unimpeded commerce, respect for international law, and the peaceful resolution of disputes.”
“Freedom of navigation in the Asia-Pacific is vital to international commerce and Americans’ prosperity and security,” said Rubio. “U.S. allies in the region continue to be threatened by aggressive actions by countries such as China, which is trying to resolve disputes through coercion rather than diplomatic negotiations. It is incumbent upon us to stand firm with our allies to promote peaceful cooperation in this vital region.”