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 Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter May 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Legal

Sovcomflot IPO Soon

The long-awaited initial public offering (IPO) of Sovcomflot, which runs one of the world’s largest tanker and gas carrier fleets, has moved a step closer.    Economy

First Cruise Company Fined under Australia’s New Fuel Rules

Australia’s NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined Carnival PLC $15,000 after one of its P&O Cruises ships, the Pacific Jewel, breached new low sulfur fuel regulations in Sydney Harbour.

UASC Completes Award Winning Finance Deal

United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) announced  the recent conclusion of a series of transactions that resulted in the issuance by a U.S. based trust of $162 million

Offshore

BW LPG Registers 10% Growth in VLGC Fleet

Less domestic petrochemical consumption of LPG would be positive for VLGC shipping as it would result in a greater surplus of LPG available for export.    However,

Subsea 7 Secures EPCI Contract

Subsea 7 S.A. announced it has been awarded an engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) contract for offshore execution in 2017 and 2018.   The

US Oil Rig Count Steady for First Time This Year

U.S. energy firms this week kept the number of rigs drilling for oil unchanged for the first time this year, services company Baker Hughes Inc said on Friday, as

News

China Shipbuilding Plans Major Restructuring

State-owned China Shipbuilding Industry Corp (CSIC) is undertaking a major restructuring as it grapples with an industry downturn, and it will be the largest restructuring

Sovcomflot IPO Soon

The long-awaited initial public offering (IPO) of Sovcomflot, which runs one of the world’s largest tanker and gas carrier fleets, has moved a step closer.    Economy

BEST Sets Container Handling Record

Hutchison Port Holdings Limited (HPH) subsidiary Barcelona Europe South Terminal (BEST) achieved a new record when it moved 7,760 TEU on the call of MSC Beatrice.

Consulting

IMO to Prevent Cyber-attacks

At a meeting of the IMO's Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), it was recognised that ships may also be exposed to so-called cyber-attacks. Now, the IMO wants to

APL Reduces Carbon Emissions by 45.5%

APL today announced that it has reduced its fleet carbon dioxide emissions by 45.5% in 2015, compared to its emissions level in 2009. This achievement marks APL’s

Rising VLGCs fleet Impact LPG Freight Rates

LPG shipping freight rates are forecast to deteriorate further through 2016 as a result of the fast rising fleet of Very Large Gas Carriers (VLGCs) which has already

Offshore Energy

Russian Shipbuilder Wins $1 bln Iran Oil Rig Deal

Russian shipbuilder Krasnye Barrikady has been awarded a near-$1 billion contract by Iran to build five offshore drilling rigs for use on Iran's part of the Gulf shelf,

Aquabotix Debuts Mini Inspection Class ROV - The Endura

Aquabotix, a marine technology company delivering the accessibility of today’s electronics products to underwater ROVs, announces the immediate availability of the Endura.

Subsea 7 Secures EPCI Contract

Subsea 7 S.A. announced it has been awarded an engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) contract for offshore execution in 2017 and 2018.   The

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Sonar 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: 0.1032 sec (10 req/sec)