A Vietnamese Coast Guard vessel on active duty. The Vietnamese foreign ministry on Friday demanded that China end its flagrant violations of Việt Nam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in the south of the East Sea. — VNA/VNS File Photo
HÀ NỘI — The US Department of State has expressed concern over reports that China is hampering other countries’ oil and gas activities in the South China Sea (known as East Sea in Việt Nam), and said its acts threaten regional peace and security.
DoS spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement on Saturday that China’s reclamation and militarisation of disputed outposts in the East Sea, along with other efforts to assert its unlawful maritime claims, including the use of maritime militia to intimidate, coerce and threaten other nations, undermine the peace and security of the region.
“By blocking development in the East Sea through coercive means, China prevents ASEAN members from accessing more than US$2.5 trillion in recoverable energy reserves,” she said, citing an earlier statement by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
These acts by China are interfering in particular with Vietnamese oil and gas exploration and production, she stated.
"The United States firmly opposes coercion and intimidation by any claimant to assert its territorial or maritime claims," Ortagus added.
"China should cease its bullying behaviour and refrain from engaging in this type of provocative and destabilising activity."
Earlier on Friday, Việt Nam voiced its protests against China’s illegal deployment of its geological survey vessel group Haiyang Dizhi 8 near the Tư Chính reef (internationally known as Vanguard Bank) since early July.
Vietnamese foreign ministry’s spokesperson Lê Thị Thu Hằng demanded that China end its flagrant violations of Việt Nam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in the south of the East Sea, which belongs to Việt Nam in line with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to which both Việt Nam and China are members.
She also noted that Việt Nam has made several communications via different channels to make known its objections to China, and that Việt Nam’s law enforcement is “adopting proper measures to uphold the nation’s sovereignty and jurisdiction in a peaceful manner and in line with international law.”
China claims the reef bank as part of its expansive ‘nine-dash line’ which covers a large part of the East Sea, but its claim has been resolutely rejected in an arbitration tribunal ruling by the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration three years ago in the dispute brought by the Philippines against China. — VNS