US Secretary of State John Kerry called on Wednesday on China and the Philippines to abide by an international tribunal’s decision on the disputed South China Sea and said there was no military solution to the problem.
Kerry’s remarks, made in a visit to India, came ahead of a G20 summit in China on Sunday and Monday that could be overshadowed by arguments over everything from territorial disputes to protectionism by China, diplomats say.
An arbitration court in The Hague ruled in July that China did not have historic rights to the South China Sea.
China dismissed the case lodged by the Philippines and rejected the ruling. “The United States continues to call on China and the Philippines to abide by the tribunal’s recent decision which is final and legally binding on both parties,” Kerry told a gathering of students in New Delhi.
China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion of trade moves annually.
Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have rival claims. China has vowed to take all measures needed to protect its sovereignty over the South China Sea and says its actions there, which have included land reclamation and construction of air fields and docks on reefs, are peaceful.
China has blamed the United States and its allies in the region, such as Japan and Australia, for stoking tension.
The United States and Japan have no territorial claims in the South China Sea and say their priority is freedom of navigation. -Reuters