US, Japan ask countries to clarify claims on South China Sea

Last Updated 25 April 2014, 06:44 IST

Expressing concern over recent Chinese actions to declare an Air Defence Zone in the East China Sea, the US and Japan today called on countries to clarify the basis of their maritime claims in accordance with international law.

"The US and Japan share strong concern over recent actions that have raised tensions in the East China Sea and South China Sea, such as the uncoordinated declaration of an Air Defence Identification Zone in the East China Sea," a statement jointly released by the US and Japan said.

Obama is currently on a four-nation trip to Asia.

"Our two countries oppose any attempt to assert territorial or maritime claims through the use of intimidation, coercion or force. The US and Japan urge the establishment of confidence-building measures among governments and militarise in the region to address these tensions," it said.

"In the South China Sea, we call on countries concerned to clarify the basis of their maritime claims in accordance with international law.  We support efforts for the early establishment of an effective Code of Conduct as a way to reduce the risk of an unintended incident," it said.

The two countries fully support the use of diplomatic and legal means, including international arbitration, to settle maritime disputes in the South China Sea, it added.

Observing that the US-Japan Alliance is the cornerstone for regional peace and security as well as a platform for global cooperation, the statement said: "The US rebalance to the Asia-Pacific and Japan's policy of Proactive Contribution to Peace based on the principle of international cooperation both contribute to the Alliance playing a leading role in ensuring a peaceful and prosperous Asia-Pacific."

According to the statement, the US and Japan coordinate closely in multilateral financial and economic fora to advance trade liberalisation and promote economic growth.

"Our joint efforts are grounded in support for an international economic system that is free, open, and transparent, and embraces innovation," it said.

"In order to further enhance economic growth, expand regional trade and investment and strengthen the rules-based trading system, the US and Japan are committed to taking the bold steps necessary to complete a high-standard, ambitious, comprehensive  Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement," it said.

"We now call upon all TPP partners to move as soon as possible to take the necessary steps to conclude the agreement.  Even with this step forward, there is still much work to be done to conclude TPP," it said.

(Published 25 April 2014, 06:44 IST)

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