US government urged to do far more to raise the costs of China’s behavior

The United States government was urged by lawmakers to do more on the issue of China’s aggression in South China Sea. “Our government should be doing far more to raise the costs of China’s behavior,” Senate Armed Services Committee chair Senator John McCain and ranking member Senator Jack Reed told US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in letter dated May 21, 2015.

Actions include “more publicly supporting the Philippine United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) arbitration case regarding the legality of China’s nine-dash line claim.”

The Senate Armed Services Committee also urged the US Defense Department to enhance “freedom of navigation patrols in the East and South China Sea, especially joint patrols with allied states.”

McCain and Reed also stressed the importance of “a more robust train-and-equip program to help build the maritime domain awareness and coastal sea-denial capabilities of states like the Philippines.”

US Senate Armed Services Committee also approved on May 14 provision of up to $425 million in the 2016 US Defense Authorization Act for countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam for “equipment, supplies, training and small-scale military construction” to be spent in a span of five years. 2016 US Defense Authorization Act is expected to be passed later this year.