US tells South Korea to speak out on China’s behavior

The United States is calling Republic of Korea (South Korea) to speak out against China’s aggressive behavior in advancing claims. “For China to assert its claims through large-scale land reclamation, through the deployment of paramilitary forces or military forces that its neighbors see as threatening, is inconsistent with the kind of region that you and I want to live in,” US State Department Assistant Secretary Daniel R. Russel said in a conference hosted by Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Korea Foundation in Washington, DC.

“The role for the Republic of Korea is the role of a major stakeholder in the international order. It’s the role of a country of laws. It’s the role of a trading nation. It’s a role of a country that has flourished under the international system,” he said.

“The fact that, like the United States, the Republic of Korea is not a claimant, in my view, gives Seoul all the more reason to speak out because it is speaking not in self-interest, but speaking in support of universal principles and the rule of law,” Rusell added as quoted by Korean Yonhap News Agency.

He emphasized, during the Korea Going Forward Conference, that a nation needs “to lead, not just with money, but with a commitment to universal values—by standing up for what we believe, even when that’s hard; and by sending our young people into the world to teach and to help others, even when there’s risk. How can we help to repair the world?”