China’s decision to introduce an oil rig accompanied by numerous government vessels for the first time in waters disputed with Vietnam is provocative and raises tensions, said Jen Psaki, the spokesperson for the United States Department of State.
Psaki, a former spokesperson for U.S. President Barack Obama, said: “This unilateral action appears to be part of a broader pattern of Chinese behavior to advance its claims over disputed territory in a manner that undermines peace and stability in the region.”
“We are also very concerned about dangerous conduct and intimidation by vessels operating in this area. We call on all parties to conduct themselves in a safe and professional manner, preserve freedom of navigation, exercise restraint, and address competing sovereignty claims peacefully and in accordance with international law,” Psaki added.
“Sovereignty over the Paracel Islands is disputed; this incident is occurring in waters claimed by Vietnam and China near those islands. These events highlight the need for claimants to clarify their claims in accordance with international law, and to reach agreement on appropriate behavior and activities in disputed areas,” Psaki concluded.