White House Urges Dialogue, Not Intimidation In China Rig Dispute

Posted by Joseph R. Fonseca
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
President Barack Obama

 

The White House said on Wednesday that a dispute between China and Vietnam that erupted within days of President Barack Obama's visit to Asia to address regional tensions needs to be resolved with dialogue, not intimidation.

While the United States was not a party to the dispute, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama had repeatedly stressed on his trip last month the need for peaceful dialogue on various disputes involving China and the South China Sea.

The renewed tension between Vietnam and China underscores one of the biggest challenges in Asia facing Obama, who is under pressure by America's allies to accelerate a "pivot" of military assets to the region to counter China's rising influence.

Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula - and perceptions of limited U.S. options to get Moscow to back down - have heightened unease in parts of Asia over whether Beijing will be emboldened to use force to pursue its territorial claims in the East and South China Seas.

The standoff in the South China Sea and anti-China violence in tightly controlledVietnam have raised fears of an escalation in tensions between the Communist-ruled neighbors, which fought a brief but bloody border war in 1979.

Such disputes "need to be resolved through dialogue, not through intimidation," Carney told a regular briefing. "We again urge dialogue in their resolution."

An Asian diplomat said it was important that Washington took a firm line with Beijing while also using its influence with Vietnam to calm the mood.

He said the concern among Southeast Asian countries was that China was seeking incremental gains in provoking a series of crises with its neighbors, a tactic that could eventually change the regional landscape unless it was met with a resolute response.

Thousands of Vietnamese set fire to foreign factories they believed to be Chinese on Tuesday in an angry reaction to Chinese oil drilling in a part of the South China Sea claimed by Vietnam, officials said.

The confrontation blew up after China moved a giant oil rig into an area of the South China Sea also claimed by Vietnam. Dozens of ships from both countries are around the rig and the two sides have accused each other of intentional collisions, increasing the risk of open confrontation.

The U.S. State Department said it was monitoring events in Vietnam closely, and urged restraint from all parties, while adding: "We support the right of individuals to assemble peacefully to protest."

'NEW REALITY'

The White House statement comes as Obama's policy toward Asia has come under some criticism at home for being more rhetoric than substance.

The current crisis erupted within days of a week-long visit to Asia by Obama in late April in which he pledged that Washington would live up to its obligation to defend its allies in the region.

The foreign minister of Singapore, a close U.S. ally and one of Vietnam's partners in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said in a speech in Washington on Tuesday that China's rapid rise had already changed the regional dynamic.

"I note that the U.S. is trying to urge all claimants not to resort to aggression and has called for a reduction of tensions," the minister, K. Shanmugam, said.

"To some extent, this reflects the new reality. The U.S. now needs the co-operation of others and asks for it. As opposed to the post World War Two situation, when the U.S. could impose its will."

Ernest Bower, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, called the violence in Vietnam "troubling" and the risk of escalation real.

"I think either China or Vietnam will find a way to back down from this one ... or I think you do end up with some sort of conflict," he said.

Vietnamese resentment against China runs deep, rooted in feelings of national pride and the struggle for independence after decades of war and more than 1,000 years of Chinese colonial rule that ended in the 10th century. Chinese forces invaded northern Vietnam in 1979 and border skirmishes continued into the 1980s.

(Reporting by Steve Holland and Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Bill Trott and Eric Walsh)

Maritime Reporter July 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Legal

USCG Boatcrew Searching for Burglary Suspect

U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) search-and-rescue crews are currently searching for a burglary suspect in the vicinity of the Rickenbacker Causeway near Miami, Fla. Friday morning.

US Steel Producers Win Anti-dumping Case

The United States has approved anti-dumping duties against South Korea and other producers of steel pipes for the energy sector, a victory for domestic producers

China Appeals WTO Ruling on US Solar Panel Dispute

China has appealed against a WTO dispute panel report on anti-dumping duties applied on certain Chinese products by the United States, the World Trade Organization (WTO) said on Friday.

News

Japanese Technology Helps Farmers to Changes in Climate

The Japanese technology firms are using their experience in saving energy and in cloud technology to help farmers cope with changes in climate, cheaper imports and declining labor.

Sinopec's Profit up at 32.5 billion yuan in 1H, 2014

Asia's largest refiner - China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation announced Friday night, according to international accounting standards, the first half net profit of 32.

Kuwait to Boost Oil Exports to China

Kuwait plans to increase the volume of crude oil exports to China to 500,000 barrels a day (bpd) in three years, an executive at the state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) said Saturday.

Consulting

EBDG Completes Repower of COLUMBIA

Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG), a leading naval architecture and marine engineering firm with offices in Seattle, New Orleans and Ketchikan, Alaska today announced

Watson Named VP of Meridian Global Consulting

William H. Watson has been appointed as Vice President of Meridian Global Consulting, LLC, a Mobile, Alabama-based scalable risk mitigation specialist consultancy.

ST Engineering Singapore's Sole Ranker in Forbes' List

Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd (ST Engineering) announced that it is the only company in Singapore to make it to Forbes’ list of The World’s Most Innovative Companies.

Offshore Energy

Gazprom, Vietnam Boost Cooperation in Energy Sector

The Gazprom headquarters hosted a working meeting between Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Company's Management Committee and Fam Suan Shon, Ambassador Extraordinary

Rosneft and NADL Sign Exchange of Assets Deal

Rosneft, Seadrill Limited and North Atlantic Drilling Limited (NADL) signed a Framework Agreement that envisages long-term cooperation in the sphere of oilfield development projects.

Norman Murray, Petrofac Chairman Quits

Petrofac, the international oil & gas facilities service provider, today announces that Norman Murray, who has been Chairman since May 2011, has resigned from

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Maritime Standards Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2246 sec (4 req/sec)