H.Res. 714, a resolution reaffirming the peaceful and collaborative resolution of maritime and jurisdictional disputes in the South China Sea and the East China Sea as provided for by universally recognized principles of international law, and reaffirming the strong support of the United States Government for freedom of navigation and other internationally lawful uses of sea and airspace in the Asia-Pacific region

H.Res. 714

a resolution reaffirming the peaceful and collaborative resolution of maritime and jurisdictional disputes in the South China Sea and the East China Sea as provided for by universally recognized principles of international law, and reaffirming the strong support of the United States Government for freedom of navigation and other internationally lawful uses of sea and airspace in the Asia-Pacific region

Sponsor
Rep. Eni Faleomavaega

Date
December 3, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

 On Wednesday, December 3, 2014, the House will consider H.Res. 714, as amended.  H.Res. 714 was introduced by Del. Eni Faleomavaega (D-AS) on September 8, 2014 and was referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  The resolution was marked up on November 20, 2014 and was ordered reported, as amended, by unanimous consent.

Bill Summary

H.Res. 714 reaffirms the strong support of the U.S. for a peaceful resolution of the maritime and territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas.  The resolution supports freedom of navigation and overflight, and condemns actions that impede these freedoms in international waters and airspace.  H.Res. 714 refuses to recognize the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) declared by China in the East China Sea and urges China to refrain from taking similar provocative actions elsewhere in the region.  The resolution urges the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and others to amiably and fairly resolve outstanding disputes on these issues, including by the finalization of a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea.  It also urges completion of the annex to the non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the U.S. and China on “rules of behavior for safety of air and maritime encounters.”  H.Res. 714 affirms continued U.S. operations to support freedom of navigation in the South and East China Seas and urges continued efforts by the U.S. to strengthen regional partnerships to bolster freedom of navigation, maintenance of peace and stability, and respect for principles of international law.

Background

The sea and airspace in the Asia-Pacific region are critical to the region’s prosperity, stability, and security.[1]  Yet China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Brunei have disputed claims over various areas within the region, prompting tension and instability.[2]  Although the U.S. is not a claimant in the disputes in the region, it has an interest in peaceful resolution of the situation that maintains freedom of navigation and overflight, and the flow of commerce that is free of intimidation, coercion, or the use of force.[3]

In 2002, the ASEAN and China agreed to the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.[4]  However, tensions over maritime and territorial disputes have only increased.[5]  There are numerous examples of aggressive actions taken by China to intimidate Japan, the Philippines, and other countries that assert claims in the region, including ramming vessels, firing shots at fishing boats, cutting cables of exploration ships, intimidating vessels sailing close to neighboring countries, and conducting energy exploration in the territorial waters of other states.[6]  In November of 2013, China—without consulting the U.S., Japan, Korea, or other nations—declared an ADIZ over the East China Sea.[7]  China announced that aircraft operating in the region, even if they did not intend to enter the ADIZ, were required to submit flight plans, maintain radio contact, and follow directions from the Chinese Ministry of National Defense.[8]  The ADIZ has increased uncertainty and decreased safety in the region, and states in the region, including Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Australia, and Indonesia, have expressed deep concern.[9]

In November of 2014, the U.S. and China signed a non-binding MOU on “rules of behavior for safety of air and maritime encounters”; yet, the MOU currently addresses only maritime behavior.  The parties have agreed to complete an additional annex on air-to-air encounters in 2015.  In advance of the November 2014 bilateral meeting, China and Japan agreed to reduce tensions over disputed islands in the East China Sea and to “gradually resume political, diplomatic and security dialogues.”

__________
[1] H.Res. 714.
[2] Id.
[3] Id.
[4] Id.
[5] Id.
[6] Id.
[7] Id.
[8] Id.
[9] Id.

Cost

A CBO cost estimate is not available.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.