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

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 'The ball is now in Asean's court'. Subscribe