Germany, France, and the United Kingdom rejected as illegal the claims of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) over large areas of the South China Sea according to a document to U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

In their unprecedented statement, these three countries joined the decision already made by the United States, Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia in their disapproval of the CCP’s extraterritorial ambitions, according to South East Asia News on Sept. 18. 

“The ‘historic rights’ over the waters of the South China Sea [claimed by the CCP] do not conform to international law,” the three countries agreed, adding, “They recall that the arbitration award in the Philippines v. China case of July 12, 2016 clearly confirms this point,” according to their document. 

Likewise, in the document the signatory countries emphasize the right to maintain the freedom that is exercised on the high seas, including navigation and overflight in that area, which is specified in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, also valid in the South China Sea.

“The Himalayas and the Strait of Malacca may seem very far away. But our prosperity and geopolitical influence in the coming decades will depend, among other things, on how we collaborate with the countries of the Indo-Pacific region,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters on Sept. 2.

The CCP has been carrying out unilateral activities in the maritime area of the region for several years, generating the claims of the countries that see their respective sovereignties threatened.

In addition to creating artificial islands in the South China Sea through engineering works, the CCP assumes that these give it maritime rights such as those derived from exclusive economic zones, under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The CCP also argues that its maritime rights are much more extensive than those previously recognized. In this case it takes as a reference the grouping of tiny rocks and coral islets called Paracels.

These alleged territorial rights are also rejected by the three European countries in their declaration on the CCP.

Numerous complaints have been directed at the CCP, because of its aggressive international policies, which are disturbing. 

In another unusual statement from the German government, Maas said earlier this month, “The threats don’t fit here,’ addressing CCP Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who threatened Czech Senate President Milos Vystrcil.

Wang Yi said that a “high price” would be paid for Vystrcil’s visit to Taiwan, to which Maas also responded that the EU expects respect.