Washington: China`s decision to deploy its troops in the disputed area of South China Sea is "unnecessarily provocative" and not befitting a responsible great power, a top US Senator said on Tuesday.
"The decision by China`s Central Military Commission to deploy troops to islands in the South China Sea, which are also claimed by Vietnam, is unnecessarily provocative," Senator John McCain said.
"Similarly, China`s appointment of legislators to govern all of the islands and waters that China claims in the South China Sea only reinforces why many Asian countries are increasingly concerned about China`s expansive territorial claims, which have no basis in international law, and the possibility that China will attempt to impose those claims through intimidation and coercion," he said.
"China`s actions in this case are disappointing and not befitting a responsible great power," he added.
"We must continue to urge all parties with territorial claims in the South China Sea to seek a peaceful, multilateral resolution that is based on international law and upholds the principle of freedom of navigation in international waters," McCain said.
Meanwhile, The New York Times said the intensifying disputes between China and four of its Southeast Asian neighbours over claims in the South China Sea have begun to raise warnings over the prospect of an open conflict.
The International Crisis Group in its latest report said that the long-simmering South China Sea dispute is doomed to escalate if the countries contesting its waters fail to take steps to reduce tensions.
"A hardening of positions on all sides is reducing the chance of a meaningful code of conduct being signed and making maritime clashes more likely," the report said.
"Claimants should take concrete steps to end the impasse and de-escalate the numerous incidents in disputed waters, like the China-Philippines standoff in Scarborough Shoal last spring," it added.
"As long as ASEAN fails to produce a cohesive South China Sea policy, a binding set of rules on the handling of disputed claims cannot be enforced", Paul Quinn-Judge, the Crisis Group`s Acting Asia Programme director, said.
"Without a consensus on resolution mechanisms, tensions in the South China Sea can easily spill over into armed conflict," he added.