U.S. Sends Note to UN Rebuking China’s Claims in South China Sea


The United States has submitted a diplomatic note to the United Nations rebuking China’s sweeping maritime and territorial claims in the South China Sea, which drew a rapid response from Beijing accusing Washington on Wednesday of trying to “stir up trouble.”

U.S. Representative to the UN Kelly Craft sent UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres the note Monday and requested it be posted to the UN body responsible for evaluating countries’ claims to the seabed off their coasts. The note cited the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and a 2016 tribunal between the Philippines and China that ruled China’s claims in the South China Sea were invalid under international law.

The U.S. statement was the latest in a long series of diplomatic notes and protests from other countries against China’s vague, sweeping claims. It follows notes by Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines. It also comes at a time of heightened tensions in the South China Sea and growing solidarity between other claimants concerned about China’s aggressive behavior.

“In asserting such vast maritime claims in the South China Sea, China purports to restrict the rights and freedoms, including the navigational rights and freedoms, enjoyed by all States,” Craft’s note read. The note specifically mentioned the objections raised by the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

“The United States again urges China to conform its maritime claims to international law as reflected in the Convention; to comply with the Tribunal’s July 12, 2016 decision; and to cease its provocative activities in the South China Sea,” it said.