US on offensive over South China Sea


Any day now, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague is expected to hand down its ruling in the Philippines case against China over its claims in the South China Sea.

US Navy chief Admiral John Richardson said it wasn’t very often two aircraft carriers and their strike groups were sent to the same place for training.

“For anyone who wants to destabilise that region, we hope that there is a deterrence message there,” he said at a security conference on Monday in Washington.

Diplomatically, the US has also been on the offensive, laying the groundwork for what it hopes will be a strong and unified international response to the court decision out of The Hague, which could potentially invalidate China’s “nine-dash line” – the territorial marker Beijing uses to claim the bulk of the sea.

Concerted signal

The US embassy has been briefing key analysts and strategists in Canberra ahead of the decision and in a special teleconference for Australian and New Zealand journalists earlier this month, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Colin Willett said ensuring the rights of all nations to use international waters was very important and not just for the countries immediately affected.