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 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Legal

Asian Nations Call for Stop to South China Sea Land Work

Calls grow for China to halt land reclamation. Southeast Asian countries on Tuesday backed a U.S. call to halt land reclamation in the South China Sea, underlining

FMC Collects $1,227,500 in Penalties from NVOCC's

Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Mario Cordero announced that the Commission has completed compromise agreements recovering a total of $1,227,500 in civil penalties.

NYK Hosts Safety Conference

Over three dates in July, NYK hosted a safety promotion conference for shipowners and ship-management companies at the NYK head office in Tokyo and at Imabari city in Ehime prefecture.

Energy

S.Africa Considering Ship-Based Power Generation

South Africa could deploy power barges using gas to generate electricity to help overcome chronic supply shortages, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

Asian Nations Call for Stop to South China Sea Land Work

Calls grow for China to halt land reclamation. Southeast Asian countries on Tuesday backed a U.S. call to halt land reclamation in the South China Sea, underlining

Koole Expands Rotterdam Operations

Koole Terminals has begun operations at the storage facility for petrol and diesel in Pernis that it recently acquired from BP.   The companies have a long-standing relationship.

Casualties

NYK Hosts Safety Conference

Over three dates in July, NYK hosted a safety promotion conference for shipowners and ship-management companies at the NYK head office in Tokyo and at Imabari city in Ehime prefecture.

Coast Guard Monitors Oil Recovery Ops near Bayonne, NJ

Coast Guard crews are continuing to monitor oil recovery operations (ORO) in the water near the International-Matex Tank Terminal (IMTT) Bayonne, New Jersey, Monday.

China Shipping Tanker Catches Fire off Shanghai

Oil tanker Ye Chi reported fire in superstructure in living quarters to MRCC Shanghai caught fire yesterday (August 3) afternoon off Dayangshan Island, Shanghai.

News

Marad Visits TX Maritime Technology & Training Center

United States Maritime Administration tours Maritime Technology and Training Center site.   Administrators from the United States Maritime Administration (MARAD),

ISS Announces CEO Transition

Captain Claus Hyldager yesterday decided to step down as the Chief Executive Officer of Inchcape Shipping Services (“ISS”).    The current Chief Financial Officer,

CME Lifts Force Majeure for all Illinois River Grain Terminals

CME Group has lifted its declaration of force majeure at all Illinois River terminals that are regular for Chicago Board of Trade corn and soybean futures delivery,

Consulting

Jonathan Appointed LOC Group's London MD

In line with LOC’s continual global growth and strengthening of the senior management team,  Britain has been appointed as Managing Director of the London operation.

Ross is Fleet Manager, Heidmar

Heidmar announced the promotion of Duncan Ross to Fleet Manager. Duncan joined Heidmar’s London office in 2012 as vessel manager.  Prior to joining Heidmar,

Rolls-Royce Takes Davies on Board

Rolls-Royce appointed Alan Davies as a Non-Executive Director. He will join the Board with effect from November 1, 2015 and will become a member of the Nominations and Governance Committee,

Offshore Energy

Egypt Gets FSRU from BW Gas

Norway-based BW Gas will provide Egypt with a liquefied natural gas (LNG) floating import terminal under a five-year contract.   This comes as as the North African

CWind Joins National Workboat Association

Citing crew transfer services as an integral part of its offering, offshore wind industry service provider CWind announced it is now a member of the National Workboat Association (NWA) of the U.

Strategic Marine: Stock Program Full Power Ahead

Strategic Marine confirmed its stock program of personnel transport vessels is market-ready.  “Our stock program currently incorporates two class leading designs

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Ship Electronics Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | 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: 0.5152 sec (2 req/sec)