- With the Hague expected to pass a decision next Tuesday, the US asks all claimants to show proper decorum and avoid any provocative actions
- The US has strengthened their presence in the disputed territory so as to provide a measure of deterrence against Chinese aggression
- President Duterte has proposed dialogues with China as part of new plans to conduct joint explorations instead
Last Thursday, July 7, the United States urged everybody to show respect for the decision on territorial disputes in the South China Sea that will be handed down by an international arbitration court next week.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Dutch City of The Hague is expected to make its final decision on the case between the South China Sea dispute between the Philippines and China this Tuesday. Abraham Denmark, a senior Pentagon official who is responsible for East Asia, urged both parties to observe the ruling and to avoid any provocative statements or moves.
Beijing has already rejected any decision that the Hague may have on the issue in advance.
China lays claim to nearly the entire sea. It is of strategic importance to world maritime trade and has a rich aquaculture. The Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan and Vietnam have also laid claim.
China has artificially enlarged reefs and islets to build ports, runways and other installations in an attempt to further legitimize its claims.
Washington is not directly involved in the territorial disputes but has still urged all claimants that it be resolved through diplomacy, not Chinese force. It has enhanced its military presence in the region and strengthened its defense alliance with the Philippines, Vietnam, and other countries.
The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan is currently conducting patrols around the sea.
However, Chinese media said on Tuesday that Beijing is prepared for a "military confrontation" with the United States within the region.
Earlier this week, the newly elected Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte proposed a dialogue with China that would happen after the court's decision next week, offering to discuss issues such as the set up of joint ventures for sharing resources in the disputed waterway.