“The United States for the first time has explicitly rejected the U-shaped, nine-dash line that China uses to assert sovereignty over nearly the whole South China Sea, experts say, strengthening the position of rival claimants and setting the stage for what could be an international legal showdown with Beijing,” according to journalist Parameswaran Ponnudurai.
Ordinarily, I would hesitate to believe a report about Washington goings-on bylined by someone from Radio Free Asia.
But this particular piece was written by my friend Parameswaran Ponnudurai, the former Agence France Presse bureau chief in Manila.
AFP then assigned Param to cover Washington for many years. He is now Radio Free Asia’s English News Director.
So I do know that Param has insider knowledge of how Washington works.
In this piece, Param quotes the testimony of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel before the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs last week.
Then Param goes on to quote Jeffrey Bader, US President Barack Obama’s former chief adviser on China, as saying two significant observations:
One – “for the first time, the United States government has come out publicly with an explicit statement that the so-called ‘nine-dash line’… is contrary to international law.
Two- “By explicitly rejecting the nine-dash line, Assistant Secretary Russel and the administration have drawn our own line in the right place.”
To read the rest of Param’s report, please click on this link.
I would have to note, though, that the United States is not a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
However, China is.