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Maritime Issues

The United States has long had a vital interest in maintaining stability, freedom of navigation, and the right to lawful commercial activity in East Asia’s waterways.  For decades, active U.S. engagement in East Asia, including the forward-deployed presence of U.S. forces, has been a central factor in keeping the peace and preserving those interests. (Lợi ích Mỹ tại Biển Đông: Duy trì ổn định, tự do lưu thông, tích cực dính líu) 

We have aimed to support respect for customary international law, as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).  Although the United States has yet to ratify the Convention, this Administration and its predecessors support doing so, and in practice, the United States complies with its provisions governing traditional uses of the oceans. (Ủng hộ UNCLOS)

China, Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei each claim sovereignty over parts of the South China Sea, including its maritime zones and land features.  The size of each party’s claim varies widely, as does the intensity with which they assert it.  The claims center on sovereignty over the 200 small islands, rocks and reefs that make up the Paracel and Spratly Islands chains.
In 2002, the ASEAN countries and China signed the “Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.”  While non-binding, it set out useful principles, such as that all claimants should “resolve disputes…by peaceful means” and “exercise self-restraint,” and that they “reaffirm their respect for and commitment to the freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea, as provided for by the universally recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.”
The 2002 document signaled a willingness among claimants to approach the dispute multilaterally.  We welcomed this agreement, which lowered tensions among claimants and strengthened ASEAN as an institution, and we support efforts to strengthen the Declaration to by producing a binding Code of Conduct based on its principles.  (Ủng hộ tiếp cận đa phương, tăng cường vai trò ASEAN với tư cách tổ chức, ủng hộ DOC và Quy tắc ứng xử COC )

  U.S. policy continues to be that we do not take sides on the competing legal claims over territorial sovereignty in the South China Sea.  We would nonetheless view with great concern any effort to change the status quo by force. (Đặc biệt quan tâm đến việc sử dụng vũ lực làm thay đổi nguyên trạng).

We are also concerned about “territorial waters” or any maritime zone that does not derive from a land territory.  Such maritime claims are not consistent with customary international law, as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention. (Không chấp nhận "Đường lưỡi bò" của Trung Quốc)

In the case of the conflicting claims in the South China Sea, we have encouraged all parties to pursue solutions in accordance with the UNCLOS, and other agreements already made between ASEAN and China. (Thực hiện các Thỏa thuận giữa Trung Quốc và ASEAN, không phải giữa Trung Quốc và các nước tranh chấp nhé! - DOC)

We have also urged that all claimants exercise restraint and avoid aggressive actions to resolve competing claims.  We have stated clearly that we oppose the threat or use of force to resolve the disputes, as well as any action that hinders freedom of navigation.  We would like to see a resolution in accordance with international law, including the UNCLOS.
We remain concerned about tension between China and Vietnam, as both countries seek to tap potential oil and gas deposits that lie beneath the South China Sea.  Starting in the summer of 2007, China told a number of American and foreign oil and gas firms to stop exploration work with Vietnamese partners in the South China Sea or face unspecified consequences in their business dealings with China.

We object to any efforts to intimidate U.S. companies and that go against the spirit of free markets. (Mỹ phản đối TQ đe dọa các công ty Mỹ làm ăn với VN tại Biển Đông)

During a visit to Vietnam in September 2008, then-Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte asserted the rights of U.S. companies operating in the South China Sea and stated that we believe that disputed claims should be dealt with peacefully and without resort to any type of coercion.  We have raised our concerns with China directly. (Không biết Trung Quốc trả lời ra sao?) Sovereignty disputes between nations should not be addressed by attempting to pressure companies that are not party to the dispute.