US supports strict DOC implementation
A number of US senators have voiced their strong support for full and strict implementation of an ASEAN-China declaration on East Sea issues and called on all parties concerned to settle disputes peacefully and lawfully.

On July 24, Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and other senators including Jim Webb, Lugar, James Inhofe and Lieberman submitted a resolution to the Senate in support of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) between ASEAN and China.

The S.Res 524 resolution recognizes ASEAN’s key role in strengthening and contributing to peace, stability, and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and the importance of a strong, cohesive, and integrated ASEAN as a foundation for effective regional frameworks to promote peace and security and economic growth and to ensure that the Asia-Pacific community develops according to rules and norms agreed upon by all of its members.

The US is enhancing political, security and economic cooperation in Southeast Asia through ASEAN, and seeks to further enhance its role in partnership with the bloc and other countries in the region in addressing transnational issues ranging from climate change to maritime security, it says.

The statement says the East Sea is a vital part of the maritime commons of Asia, including critical sea lanes of communication and commerce between the Pacific and Indian oceans.

It cites ASEAN members and China’s commitment  in the DOC “to the freedom of navigation in and overflight of the East Sea provided for by the universally recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea”.

As the US has national interests in freedom of navigation, the maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law, and unimpeded lawful commerce, the resolution says, it welcomes the development of a peaceful and prosperous China which respects international norms, international laws, international institutions, and international rules.

Resolution S.Res 524 urges that with the pending adoption of a code of conduct (COC), all parties concerned should meet DOC commitments consistently. It also supports a collaborative diplomatic process by all claimants for resolving outstanding territorial and jurisdictional disputes, allowing the parties to peacefully settle claims and disputes in line with international law.

It also supports enhanced operations by the US armed forces in the Western Pacific, including in the East Sea, in partnership with the armed forces of others countries in the region, in support of freedom of navigation, the maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law, and the maintenance of peace and stability in the region.