US and China war of words erupts over the recent tensions between Beijing and its neighbors about disputed territory in the South China Sea.
Beijing claims a U-shaped swathe of the South China Sea that covers areas other South East Asian nations say are their territory.
“John Kerry said China’s introduction of an oil rig and numerous government vessels in waters disputed with Vietnam was provocative,”
US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, referring to a telephone call between the US secretary of state and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, according to South China Morning Post report.
“He urged both sides to de-escalate tensions, ensure safe conduct by their vessels at sea, and resolve the dispute through peaceful means in accordance with international law.”
US and China war of words tension started last week after China moved a giant oil rig into an area also claimed by Vietnam. Each country accused the other of ramming its ships near the disputed Paracel Islands.
Last week, several collisions were reported between Chinese and Vietnamese vessels in disputed waters as the Vietnamese ships sought to prevent the installation of the Chinese drilling rig.
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, rejecting rival claims to parts of it from Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.
Territorial disputes in the South China Sea involve both island and maritime claims among seven sovereign states within the region, namely Brunei, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the Republic of China (Taiwan), Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
The disputes include the maritime boundary in the Gulf of Tonkin as well as maritime boundaries off the coasts of Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines. “US and China War Of Words Erupts” FILE PHOTO: REUTERS