“China’s repeated provocative actions aimed at the offshore oil and gas development of other claimant states threatens regional energy security and undermines the free and open Indo-Pacific energy market,” the State Department said in a statement. It said these acts were interfering in particular with “Vietnam’s long-standing exploration and production activities” in the waters. China claims almost the entire South China Sea, including waters close to Southeast Asian countries Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Taiwan. The State Department cited Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s comments earlier this year when he said, “by blocking development in the South China Sea through coercive means, China prevents ASEAN members from accessing more than $2.5 trillion in recoverable energy reserves.” The department said that China’s reclamation and militarization of disputed outposts in the waterway, including the use of maritime militia to intimidate, coerce, and threaten other nations, undermine the peace and security of the region. “The United States firmly opposes coercion and intimidation by any claimant to assert its territorial or maritime claims,” it said. “China should cease its bullying behavior and refrain from engaging in this type of provocative and destabilizing activity,” it said. Vietnam on Friday demanded that China withdraw… Read full this story
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