US: Vietnam and China should back off

“Both China and Vietnam should remove all their ships, and China should remove the oil rig not because we take a position on who is right, but to create space for the diplomatic process to manage tensions,” Daniel Russel said, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific.

“Vietnam and China, need to de-escalate tensions. Both need to exercise restraints and ensure the safe behavior and activities of their vessels,” US top envoy to East Asia said.

Moreover, Russel urged China to participate in international arbitration. “This opens the door to the removal of ambiguity regarding China’s claims that has fuelled tensions and uncertainty in the region.”

A Chinese ship uses water cannon on a Vietnamese Sea Guard ship on the South China Sea near the Paracels islands

“The point I tried to make is that while they work at making progress on a long-time Code of Conduct, the pace of incidents in the South China Sea is going up, and going up quickly. There are signs of large-scale reclamation projects in the South China Sea, construction of military features and so on,” he said. “Coercion and threat of force as mechanisms for advancing territorial claims are simply unacceptable.”

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