Concerns were raised by the US State Department on Saturday, July 20th over reports that China is seeking to hinder oil and gas excavation in the South China sea, referring to Beijing as a being a bully in its actions towards other countries.
Rival countries have wrangled over territory in the South China Sea for centuries, but tensions have steadily increased in recent years, making the situation disturbing to countries seeking to excavate oil and gas from the South China Sea, AFP reported.
Countries like Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Brunei all have complained about China’s role in the tension. Both Vietnam and China have long been locked in a maritime disagreement over the resource-rich waters of the South China Sea, according to AFP.
The State Department, however, has indicated that performances by China threaten regional peace and security as it interferes in particular with Vietnamese oil and gas exploration and production.
The South China Sea dispute has plagued the political arena since 1974, causing more problems than solutions over territory and sovereignty over ocean areas, including the Paracels and the Spratlys, two island chains claimed in whole or in part by a number of countries, according to BBC.
The mostly uninhabited Paracels and the Spratlys may have natural resources around them. There have been few detailed explorations of the area, so estimates are largely extrapolated from the mineral wealth of neighbouring areas. The sea is also a major shipping route and home to fishing grounds that supply the livelihoods of people across the region and therefore has geopolitical value.
The US Department of State declared that "China's reclamation and militarisation of disputed outposts in the SCS, along with other efforts to assert its unlawful SCS maritime claims, including the use of maritime militia to intimidate, coerce and threaten other nations, undermine the peace and security of the region", adding that China should cease its bullying behaviour and refrain from engaging in this provocative and destabilising activity, AFP reported.