Earlier in the day, the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration said China has no legal basis to claim historic rights to South China Sea resources. The ruling also noted that the Chinese claims were contrary to the UN Convention on Law of the Sea.
"The United States should expand political, economic and security ties with our allies and partners and continue efforts to defend freedom of navigation and overflight through routine patrols in the East and South China Seas," Corker stated, commenting on the ruling.
A number of disputed islands, including the Paracel Islands and the Spratly Islands, are located in the South China Sea. Beijing’s territorial claims to the Spratly Islands, which are believed to be rich in oil and gas reserves, run against those of the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam.