(Senate - June 10, 2013)

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[Pages S4062-S4063]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mr. MENENDEZ (for himself, Mr. Rubio, and Mr. Cardin) submitted the 
following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign 

                              S. Res. 167

       Whereas the maritime domain of the Asia-Pacific region 
     includes critical sea lines of communication and commerce 
     between the Pacific and Indian oceans;
       Whereas the United States has a national interest in 
     freedom of navigation and overflight in the Asia-Pacific 
     maritime domains, as provided for by universally recognized 
     principles of international law;
       Whereas the United States has a national interest in the 
     maintenance of peace and stability, open access by all to 
     maritime domains, respect for universally recognized 
     principles of international law, prosperity and economic 
     growth, and unimpeded lawful commerce;
       Whereas the United States has a clear interest in 
     encouraging and supporting the nations of the region to work 
     collaboratively and diplomatically to resolve disputes 
     without coercion, without intimidation, without threats, and 
     without the use of force;
       Whereas the South China Sea contains great natural 
     resources, and their stewardship and responsible use offers 
     immense potential benefit for generations to come;
       Whereas, in recent years, there have been numerous 
     dangerous and destabilizing incidents in this region, 
     including Chinese vessels cutting the seismic survey cables 
     of a Vietnamese oil exploration ship in May 2011; Chinese 
     vessels barricading the entrance to the Scarborough Reef 
     lagoon in April 2012; China issuing an official map that 
     newly defines the contested ``nine-dash line'' as China's 
     national border; and, since May 8, 2013, Chinese naval and 
     marine surveillance ships maintaining a regular presence in 
     waters around the Second Thomas Shoal, located approximately 
     105 nautical miles northwest of the Philippine island of 
       Whereas the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) 
     has promoted multilateral talks on disputed areas without 
     settling the issue of sovereignty, and in 2002 joined with 
     China in signing a Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in 
     the South China Sea that committed all parties to those 
     territorial disputes to ``reaffirm their respect for and 
     commitment to the freedom of navigation in and over flight 
     above the South China Sea as provided for by the universally 
     recognized principles of international law'' and to ``resolve 
     their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful 
     means, without resorting to the threat or use of force'';
       Whereas Japan and Taiwan reached an agreement on April 10, 
     2013, to jointly share and administer the fishing resources 
     in their overlapping claimed exclusive economic zones in the 
     East China Sea, an important breakthrough after 17 years of 
     negotiations and a model for other such agreements;
       Whereas other incidences of the joint administrations of 
     resources in disputed waters in the South China Sea have de-
     escalated tensions and promoted economic development, such as 
     Malaysia and Brunei's 2009 agreement to partner on exploring 
     offshore Brunei waters, with drilling in offshore oil and gas 
     fields off Brunei beginning in 2011;

[[Page S4063]]

     and Thailand and Vietnam's agreement to jointly develop areas 
     of the Gulf of Thailand for gas exports, despite ongoing 
     territorial disputes;
       Whereas the Government of the Republic of the Philippines 
     states that it ``has exhausted almost all political and 
     diplomatic avenues for a peaceful negotiated settlement of 
     its maritime dispute with China'' and in his statement of 
     January 23, 2013, Republic of Philippines Secretary of 
     Foreign Affairs Del Rosario stated that therefore ``the 
     Philippines has taken the step of bringing China before the 
     Arbitral Tribunal under Article 287 and Annex VII of the 1982 
     Convention on the Law of the Sea in order to achieve a 
     peaceful and durable solution to the dispute'';
       Whereas, in January 2013, a Chinese naval ship allegedly 
     fixed its weapons-targeting radar on Japanese vessels in the 
     vicinity of the Senkaku islands, and, on April 23, 2013, 
     eight Chinese marine surveillance ships entered the 12-
     nautical-mile territorial zone off the Senkaku Islands, 
     further escalating regional tensions;
       Whereas, on May 8, 2013, the Chinese Communist Party's main 
     newspaper, The People's Daily, published an article by 
     several Chinese scholars questioning Japan's sovereignty over 
     Okinawa, where key United States military installations are 
     located which contribute to preserving security and stability 
     in the Asia-Pacific region;
       Whereas the Government of the People's Republic of China 
     has recently taken other unilateral steps, including 
     declaring the Senkaku Islands a ``core interest'', 
     ``improperly drawing'' baselines around the Senkaku Islands 
     in September 2102, which the 2013 Annual Report to Congress 
     on Military and Security Developments Involving the People's 
     Republic of China found to be ``inconsistent with 
     international law'', and maintaining a continuous military 
     and paramilitary presence around the Senkaku Islands;
       Whereas, although the United States does not take a 
     position on the ultimate sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands, 
     the United States Government acknowledges that they are under 
     the administration of Japan and opposes any unilateral 
     actions that would seek to undermine such administration, 
     affirms that the unilateral actions of a third party will not 
     affect the United States' acknowledgment of the 
     administration of Japan over the Senkaku Islands, remains 
     committed under the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security 
     to respond to any armed attack in the territories under the 
     administration of Japan, and has urged all parties to take 
     steps to prevent incidents and manage disagreements through 
     peaceful means;
       Whereas, on August 3, 2012, a Department of State 
     spokesperson expressed concern over ``China's upgrading of 
     the administrative level of Sansha City and the establishment 
     of a new military garrison there,'' encouraged ASEAN and 
     China ``to make meaningful progress toward finalizing a 
     comprehensive Code of Conduct,'' and called upon claimants to 
     ``explore every diplomatic or other peaceful avenue for 
     resolution, including the use of arbitration or other 
     international legal mechanisms as needed'';
       Whereas the United States recognizes the importance of 
     strong, cohesive, and integrated regional institutions, 
     including the East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN, and the Asia-
     Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, as foundation for 
     effective regional frameworks to promote peace and security 
     and economic growth, including in the maritime domain, and to 
     ensure that the Asia-Pacific community develops rules-based 
     regional norms which discourage coercion and the use of 
       Whereas the United States welcomes the development of a 
     peaceful and prosperous China, the government of which 
     respects international norms, international laws, 
     international institutions, and international rules; enhances 
     security and peace; and seeks to advance a ``new model'' of 
     relations between the United States and China; and
       Whereas ASEAN plays an important role, in partnership with 
     others in the regional and international community, in 
     addressing maritime security issues in the Asia-Pacific 
     region and into the Indian Ocean, including open access to 
     the maritime domain of Asia: Now, therefore, be it
       Resolved, That the Senate--
       (1) condemns the use of coercion, threats, or force by 
     naval, maritime security, or fishing vessels and military or 
     civilian aircraft in the South China Sea and the East China 
     Sea to assert disputed maritime or territorial claims or 
     alter the status quo;
       (2) strongly urges that all parties to maritime and 
     territorial disputes in the region exercise self-restraint in 
     the conduct of activities that would undermine stability or 
     complicate or escalate disputes, including refraining from 
     inhabiting presently uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, and 
     other features and handle their differences in a constructive 
       (3) reaffirms the strong support of the United States for 
     the member states of ASEAN and the Government of the People's 
     Republic of China as they seek to develop a code of conduct 
     of parties in the South China Sea, and urges all countries to 
     substantively support ASEAN in its efforts in this regard;
       (4) supports collaborative diplomatic processes by all 
     claimants in the South China Sea for resolving outstanding 
     maritime or territorial disputes, in a manner that maintains 
     peace and security, adheres to international law, and 
     protects unimpeded lawful commerce as well as freedom of 
     navigation and overflight, and including through 
     international arbitration, allowing parties to peacefully 
     settle claims and disputes using universally recognized 
     principles of international law;
       (5) encourages the deepening of efforts by the United 
     States Government to develop partnerships with other 
     countries in the region for maritime domain awareness and 
     capacity building; and
       (6) supports the continuation of operations by the United 
     States Armed Forces in the Western Pacific, including in 
     partnership with the armed forces of other countries in the 
     region, in support of freedom of navigation, the maintenance 
     of peace and stability, and respect for universally 
     recognized principles of international law, including the 
     peaceful resolution of issues of sovereignty and unimpeded 
     lawful commerce.