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During a visit to the United States in 2016, Chinese Communist Party President Xi Jinping declared that China “has no intention of pursuing militarization” and is “committed to maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea.”
I just returned from the South China Sea, and Xi Jinping’s words could not be further from the truth.
The Chinese Communist Party has no business in the South China Sea. In fact, they are focusing on militarizing outposts in the South China Sea, acting aggressively against U.S. allies and partners, and telling lies about the “ten-dash line” to claim ownership of the region. is repeated.
The South China Sea is a strategic waterway through which nearly $5.3 trillion worth of trade passes annually, including $1.2 trillion in trade between the United States and its four top 10 trading partners. The hotly contested region includes competing claims to islands, reefs and waterways by China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
As Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Indo-Pacific Subcommittee, I led a bipartisan Congressional delegation to the First Island Chain, which included Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia. We have seen and heard again and again that the Chinese Communist Party is redoubling its unlawful claims and aggressive tactics to assert and expand its control in the region.
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Just a week before our trip, the Chinese Communist Party’s coast guard used lasers to temporarily blind Filipino sailors and prevent a Philippine Coast Guard ship from resupplying Philippine Marines on the Sierra Madre. Water cannons were used to stop them. The Sierra Madre is a Philippine ship stationed permanently to protect the South China Sea. Philippine claims to the Spratly Islands.
I flew over the South China Sea on a mission for the U.S. Navy and saw the congestion firsthand. Instead of open waters, private fishing fleets from Southeast Asian countries, Philippine Coast Guard patrol boats, and ships from the People’s Liberation Army Navy and Chinese Coast Guard (by far the largest and most common ships in these waters) compete. I saw. The area between the reef and the islet is the same body of water.
Across the South China Sea, China has illegally dredged approximately 3,200 acres of new land, built a number of military outposts, including runways for military aircraft, isolated “research” platforms where ships can dock, and expanded into allied waters. The Chinese Coast Guard is permanently stationed there. Claim.
The Chinese Communist Party’s presence is felt not only through its expansion of outposts, but also through its aggressive tactics. Our military and our Philippine counterparts shared the unprofessional and dangerous manner in which the Chinese Communist Party is targeting the Philippines, a key ally of our country in the Indo-Pacific and a country we have agreements to defend.
From lasers, water cannons, and dangerous interceptions to offensive language directed at pilots, the Chinese Communist Party’s harassment appears to have no standards. What we heard on the ground was from our own military at Indopacom about how PLA aircraft and ships fly and sail dangerously close to US military aircraft and ships. It’s consistent with the reports I’ve seen.
Indonesia was no exception. My counterpart explained that the Chinese Communist Party is conducting illegal and unregulated fishing activities in the South China Sea, damaging not only the surrounding environment but also the livelihoods of thousands of Indonesian fishermen and women. did.
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The Chinese Communist Party aims to take complete control of the South China Sea, and as it expands its footprint in the region, its allies and partners are unable to effectively resist them on their own while adhering to the rules-based international order. There is.
In response to the efforts of its allies and partners to use international law and legal mechanisms to halt the activities of the Chinese Communist Party, the Chinese Communist Party blatantly ignores or delays negotiations and lawful arbitration awards, and continues to pursue disputes. It faces other attempts to manage disagreements over maritime areas.
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If the United States is to continue to lead on the world stage, deter Chinese aggression, and promote peace from a position of strength, we must take the lead in supporting our allies and partners in the South China Sea. This has direct implications for national security, allies, global trade, supply chains, and international law.
Congress needs to address these violations head-on, and I am committed to working with my colleagues in Congress and our allies in the United States to find real solutions. This includes assistance in raising awareness in the maritime domain, increasing joint patrols in the region, strengthening economic ties with Southeast Asian countries, and condemning illegal activities. The administration must take responsibility for its commitments to allies, show up for important ones, and stop ignoring Congress for fruitless talks with China that yield no progress.
The Chinese Communist Party’s voyage to world domination is sailing through the South China Sea, but I refuse to allow the United States to give it the green light.
Click here to read more from our representatives.Young Kim