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US express ‘concern’ over Chinese ‘interference’ in South China Sea

23 July 2019
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The US Department of State has expressed “concern” over reports of what it described as China’s “interference with oil and gas activities in the South China Sea (SCS), including Vietnam’s long-standing exploration and production activities”.

“China’s repeated provocative actions aimed at the offshore oil and gas development of other claimant states threaten regional energy security and undermine the free and open Indo-Pacific energy market," the State Department said on 20 July.

The statement comes as SCS claimants Malaysia and Vietnam have accused Chinese government vessels of territorial incursions in recent weeks. According to automatic identification system (AIS) data from IHS Markit’s Maritime Portal, an 88 m-long research vessel known as Haiyang Dizhi 8 has been conducting what appear to be seismic surveys in waters claimed by both Hanoi and Beijing.

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