Vietnam demands China withdraws vessel from South China Sea

China has been accused by Vietnam of interfering with its oil and gas exploration and production in disputed waters in the South China Sea including the Spratly islands

China has been accused by Vietnam of interfering with its oil and gas exploration and production in disputed waters in the South China Sea including the Spratly islands

The United States on Saturday expressed concern over reports that China is hampering other countries' oil and gas activities in the South China Sea and accused Beijing of acting like a bully.

The East Sea is internationally known as the South China Sea. "China's coercive behaviour towards its southeast Asian neighbours is counterproductive and threatens regional peace and stability", Bolton tweeted.

Vietnam has demanded China stop the "unlawful activities" and that its ships leave Vietnamese waters, she said.

"Without Vietnam's permission, all actions undertaken by foreign parties in Vietnamese waters have no legal effect, and constitute encroachments in Vietnamese waters, and violations of worldwide law", said Foreign Ministery spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang, as reported by Reuters.

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Under the provisions of the 1982 UNCLOS, a coastal state has sovereign rights for the goal of exploring, conserving and managing the natural resources, whether living or non-living, of the waters superjacent to the seabed and of the seabed and its subsoil, and with regard to other activities for the economic exploitation and exploration of its EEZ, which is within 200 nautical miles from the baseline.

"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", the United States statement said.

Hong Kong's South China Morning Post newspaper reported on July 12 that six "heavily armed" coastguard vessels, two from China and four from Vietnam, had been eyeing each other since the beginning of the month.

Tensions are rising in the South China Sea, with a potential flashpoint developing between China and Vietnam, who are engaged in a weeks-long "stand-off" over the Vanguard Bank, according to multiple reports.

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