United States of America Senators Robert Menendez, Marco Rubio, Ben Cardin, Jim Risch, John McCain, and Patrick Leahy urged their fellow US senators to pass a resolution in supporting the freedom of navigation in Asia-Pacific region. They also released a joint statement saying China’s recent agressiveness in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone is ‘deeply troubling’.
“China’s recent movement of an oil drilling rig escorted by military and other ships into disputed waters in the South China Sea off the coast of Vietnam – and the subsequent aggressive tactics used by Chinese ships, including the ramming of Vietnamese ships – is deeply troubling,” said the six in a joint statement.
“These actions threaten the free flow of global commerce in a vital region. China’s unilateral declaration of an air defense identification zone in November and its ongoing harassment of Japanese vessels around Japanese-administered territory in the East China Sea all raise serious questions about China’s approach to regional security,” they added.
They also asked US President Obama “to make clear to China at the highest levels that territorial claims and disputes must be resolved peacefully, diplomatically and consistent with international law. Unilateral attempts to change the status quo or the use of force, coercion and intimidation are unacceptable and will only lead to instability.”