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Schatz Statement on South China Sea Ruling

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, issued the following statement after the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that China’s sovereignty claim over the South China Sea has no legal basis.

“Today's ruling from the Permanent Court of Arbitration reaffirmed what we have known all along: that China’s outsized claim to the entire South China Sea has no basis in international law. It also showed that the dispute resolution process works, and that countries that commit to addressing territorial disputes through legitimate arbitration or diplomatic processes are more credible and have a stronger claim under international law. I applaud the Philippines for pursuing a peaceful course of arbitration to resolve its territorial disputes.

“I call on China to accept the ruling and refrain from any provocative behavior. It is time for China to stop its unilateral efforts to redraw the region’s maritime boundaries and suspend building artificial features.  As the Tribunal cited in its ruling, China’s actions are proof that it is causing severe harm to coral reefs and breaching its responsibility to preserve and protect the region’s marine environment that supports the livelihoods of so many across the Asia Pacific. Continuing these actions is irresponsible and does nothing but exacerbate the risk of misperceptions, accidents, and conflict in the region.”