China accused of bullying Vietnam
CHINA is carrying out "coercive interference" in oil and gas activities in waters claimed by Vietnam, according to the Pentagon.
Ship tracking data showed a Chinese survey vessel extended its activities to an area closer to Vietnam's coastline on Saturday, after the US and Australia expressed concern about China's actions in the disputed waterways.
The Pentagon said Beijing's activities were contradictory to Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe's pledge in a speech in Singapore earlier this year that China would "stick to the path of peaceful development."
"China will not win the trust of its neighbours nor the respect of the international community by maintaining its bullying tactics," the statement added.
The Haiyang Dizhi 8 vessel first entered Vietnam's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) early last month where it began a weeks-long seismic survey, triggering a tense standoff between military and coastguard vessels from Vietnam and China.
Vietnam, which has developed increasingly close ties with Washington over shared concerns about China, has demanded that Beijing remove the vessel .
The Pentagon statement on Monday came as US President Donald Trump predicted a trade deal with China, calming global markets that have been roiled by escalating tensions between the world's two largest economies.