US Senators proposes bill to counter China In Asia-Pacific

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Washington, DC, April 29 (CINEWS): A maritime security bill to assist Asia-Pacific allies to ward off China\s assertiveness has been propose by US senators, including three members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Called the “Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Initiative Act of 2016,” the bill is expected to increase the maritime capabilities of nations in the South China Sea region or their regional organizations.

The proposed bill says the U.S. “president shall ensure that the United States Government treats every proposed arms sales for Taiwan with the same timelines, processes, and procedures, including formal notification to Congress under the Arms Export Control Act, accorded to proposed arms transfers for all other countries.”

The senators pointed out the “provocative actions in the South China Sea”. Senator Ben Cardin, a Democrat from Maryland who is one of the bill’s sponsors said that these actions “threaten not just regional stability but long-standing U.S. interests in the free-flow of commerce, freedom of navigation, and the peaceful resolution of disputes consistent with international law.”

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Senator Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii said “China’s ongoing actions to unilaterally redraw the region’s maritime borders exacerbates the risks of misperceptions and conflict.”

The senators are proposing that surplus defence material be transferred to the countries concerned, along with other steps.

“Our bipartisan legislation helps align our diplomatic and military efforts so that we can continue to work with our partners and allies across the Pacific to strengthen our commitment to regional peace and stability.”

The other two sponsors of the bill are Cory Gardner, a Republican from Colorado, and Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey. Cardin, Gardner and Menendez are all members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday that the U.S. warships and other vessels would continue to sail by the artificial islands build by China in the South China Sea.

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