During a visit to the United States in 2016, Chinese Communist Party Chairman (CCP) Xi Jinping declared that China “does not intend to pursue militarization” and is “committed to maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea.”
I just got back from the South China Sea, and Xi Jinping’s words could not be further from the truth.
The CCP is not done in the South China Sea. In fact, they are doubling down on militarizing outposts in the South China Sea, acting aggressively toward U.S. allies and partners, and repeating lies about its “ten-dash line” to claim ownership of the region.
The South China Sea is a strategic waterway which nearly $5.3 trillion worth of trade passes through annually, including $1.2 trillion trade between the United States and four of our top ten trading partners. The highly contested area includes competing claims to islands, reefs, and waterways by China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
As Chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Indo-Pacific Subcommittee, I led a bipartisan Congressional Delegation to the First Island Chain, including Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia. We saw and heard time and time again that the CCP is doubling down on unlawful claims and aggressive tactics to assert and expand its control of the region.
For the United States to continue to lead on the world stage, push back on CCP aggression, and be able to promote peace from a position of strength, we must show up and support our allies and partners in the South China Sea. This directly ties into our national security, our allies, global trade, supply chains, and international law.
Congress must tackle these unlawful behaviors head-on, and I am committed to working with my colleagues in Congress and counterparts from allied nations to finding real solutions. This includes support for more maritime domain awareness, more joint patrols in the region, stronger economic ties with Southeast Asian nations, and calling out unlawful behavior. The administration must be held accountable to promises made to allies, show up to key engagements, and stop sidelining Congress for fruitless meetings with Beijing that yield no progress.
The CCP’s voyage toward world dominance sails through the South China Sea, and I refuse to let United States give the CCP the green light.
Republican Rep. Young Kim represents California’s 40th Congressional District.