|Sen. John McCain|
(Image: Wiki Commons)
By Patricia Lourdes Viray
MANILA, Philippines — An American senator suggested that United States-led multilateral exercises could be a good way to push back against Beijing's excessive claims in the disputed South China Sea.
"If the Chinese are able to prevent us from exercising freedom of navigation then I think that has a profound consequences for the entire region," Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) said in a speech in Sydney.
McCain, chair of the US Senate Armed Services Committee, stressed that China's vast territorial claims have no basis in international law.
"The challenge is that as China has grown wealthier and stronger, it seems to be acting more and more like a bully," McCain said.
McCain's remarks in Australia comes days before delegates from the US and China are scheduled to attend the Shangri-La Dialogue or the 16th Asia Security Summit in Singapore.
The US senator noted that Australia has become entangled in a strategic competition between America and China.
The senator, however, did not directly urge Australia to take part in freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea.
Read the full story at PhilStar