U.S. to back nations whose South China Sea claims China violated

Credit: REUTERS/Tom Brenner

WASHINGTON, July 15 (Reuters) - The United States will support countries that believe China has violated their maritime claims in the South China Sea, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday but stressed doing so in multilateral and legal forums.

"We will then go use the tools that we have available and we will support countries all across the world who recognize that China has violated their legal territorial claims as well – or maritime claims as well," Pompeo told reporters. "We will go provide them the assistance we can, whether that’s in multilateral bodies, whether that's in ASEAN, whether that's through legal responses, we will use all the tools we can," he said, referring to the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

(Reporting By Arshad Mohammed Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

((arshad.mohammed@thomsonreuters.com; +1 202 898 8300; Reuters Messaging: arshad.mohammed.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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