China claims its presence in South China Sea predates that of the other claimants | Source: Google Earth
- China claims its presence in the area predates that of the other claimants
- Many countries from Southeast Asia like Brunei, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines claim certain rights over South China Sea
- The US said that China’s actions undermine regional peace and security, impose economic costs on Southeast Asian states
Washington: The United States launched a scathing attack on China for carrying out activities in disputed areas of the South China Sea and coercing few ASEAN nations to reject partnerships with foreign oil and gas firms only to work with Beijing’s state-owned enterprises.
Accusing China of redeploying a government-owned survey vessel – with armed escorts – into the waters off Vietnam earlier this month the US said that those waters are part of Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Many countries from Southeast Asia like Brunei, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines claim the island as well as maritime rights in the resource-rich waters of the South China Sea.
“The United States is deeply concerned that China is continuing its interference with Vietnam’s long-standing oil and gas activities in its EEZ,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.
Issuing a statement US Department of State called the deployment of the survey vessel “an escalation by Beijing in its efforts to intimidate other claimants out of developing resources in the South China Sea.”
China claims its presence in the area predates that of the other claimants, including Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, and hence Beijing asserts sovereignty over several disputed island chains, AFP reported.
The United States which is locked in a bitter trade dispute with Beijing regularly criticises China for the militarisation of the South China Sea, which Washington perceives as Beijing’s way to establish its dominance in the region.
“In recent weeks, China has taken a series of aggressive steps to interfere with ASEAN claimants’ long-standing, well-established economic activities,” Ortagus said, referring to member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
United States Department of State spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said that China’s actions undermine regional peace and security, impose economic costs on Southeast Asian states thereby showing its blatant disregard for the rights of countries to undertake economic activities in their EEZs.
On Tuesday, National Security Advisor John Bolton in a tweet accused China of using “bullying tactics” calling those efforts as “disturbing.”