Pompeo on South China Sea: The ball is now in Asean's court

South-east Asian countries should make it clear that in endorsing international law, they are not acting at America's behest but are protecting their legitimate rights and maritime entitlements

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's statement on July 13 is not a radical departure from the United States' existing South China Sea policy but rather an evolutionary step in its hardening stance towards the disputes.

Nevertheless, the statement will lead to a further deterioration in US-China relations and has important implications for the South-east Asian claimants.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 22, 2020, with the headline Pompeo on South China Sea: The ball is now in Asean's court. Subscribe