The US Department of Defense yesterday expressed its deep concern at China’s “coercive interference” in Vietnam’s longstanding oil and gas activities in the East Sea, and its continued efforts to violate the rules-based international order.
|Vietnam's DK1 rig in its southern continental shelf.|
In a statement, the department said that recently, China continued its interference in Vietnam’s oil and as activities in the sea and this directly contradicts Chinese Minister of Defense Wei Fenghe’s pledge at the Shangri-La Dialogue that China would “stick to the path of peaceful development”.
“China's actions stand in contrast to the United States' vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region, in which all nations, large and small, are secure in their sovereignty, free from coercion, and able to pursue economic growth consistent with accepted international rules and norms,” it said.
According to the statement, China will not win the trust of its neighbours nor the respect of the international community by maintaining its “bullying” tactics.
China’s actions to coerce ASEAN claimants, station offensive military systems, and enforce an unlawful maritime claim raise serious doubts over China’s credibility, the statement added.