South Korea has significant stakes in ensuring freedom of navigation and global commons around the world, including disputed waters in the South China Sea, a former top American diplomat said.
Former Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, who is now president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, also said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency that Seoul and Washington share a vision for “the rule of the road” that should guide behavior in the South China Sea.
Seoul’s interests in making sure that freedom of “navigation and global commons are protected and secure and predictable has only gotten more and more significant,” Burns said during the interview at his office in Washington.
“I’ve always thought the South Korean government has been quite clear about its interest in seeing that kind of arrangement, whether it’s in the South China sea, or someplace else,” he said.
The U.S. has been strongly critical of China’s forceful assertion of its territorial claims in the South China Sea as Beijing has been building artificial islands in the disputed waters, also claimed by countries like the Philippines and Vietnam, in an effort to bolster its claims.