The United States is concerned by reports of China’s interference with oil and gas activities in the South China Sea (SCS), including Vietnam’s long-standing exploration and production activities. China’s repeated provocative actions aimed at the offshore oil and gas development of other claimant states threaten regional energy security and undermine the free and open Indo-Pacific energy market.
As Secretary Pompeo noted earlier this year, “by blocking development in the SCS through coercive means, China prevents ASEAN members from accessing more than $2.5 trillion in recoverable energy reserves.”
China’s reclamation and militarization of disputed outposts in the SCS, along with other efforts to assert its unlawful SCS maritime claims, including the use of maritime militia to intimidate, coerce, and threaten other nations, undermine the peace and security of the region.
China’s growing pressure on ASEAN countries to accept Code of Conduct provisions that seek to restrict their right to partner with third party companies or countries further reveal its intent to assert control over oil and gas resources in the South China Sea.
The United States firmly opposes coercion and intimidation by any claimant to assert its territorial or maritime claims.
China should cease its bullying behavior and refrain from engaging in this type of provocative and destabilizing activity.