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US: China’s oil rig near Paracels ‘provocative’

US state department spokesperson Jen Psaki says China's action 'undermines peace and stability in the region'

MANILA, Philippines – The US is “concerned” about the escalating tension between China and Vietnam near the disputed Paracel Islands, criticizing China for its “provocative” move. 

Vietnam said Chinese ships protecting a deep-water drilling rig had used water cannon to attack Vietnamese patrol vessels and repeatedly rammed them, injuring 6 people. (READ: Vietnam says China fired water cannon, rammed ships near oil rig)

China’s move to introduce an oil rig is “provocative” and “raises tensions,” US state department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement.

“This unilateral action appears to be part of a broader pattern of Chinese behavior to advance its claims over disputed territory in a manner that undermines peace and stability in the region,” she added.

The US called for a peaceful settlement of the maritime conflict.

“We are also very concerned about dangerous conduct and intimidation by vessels operating in this area.  We call on all parties to conduct themselves in a safe and professional manner, preserve freedom of navigation, exercise restraint, and address competing sovereignty claims peacefully and in accordance with international law,” Psaki said. – Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler.com

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