US says China's sea claims have 'no basis' in international law
Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin said Tuesday that Beijing's expansive claims in the South China Sea have "no basis in international law", taking aim at China's growing assertiveness in the hotly contested waters.
"We continue to support the region's coastal states in upholding their rights under international law."
"I am committed to pursuing a constructive, stable relationship with China, including stronger crisis communications with the People's Liberation Army."
China claims almost the entire resource-rich sea, through which trillions of dollars in shipping trade passes annually, with overlapping claims from Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.