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Pentagon accuses China of “bullying tactics” in waters off Vietnam

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — China is “coercing” into oil and gas activities in waters claimed by Vietnam, accusing Beijing of “bullying tactics,” the Pentagon said on Monday.

Vessel traffic data showed a Chinese reconnaissance ship expanded its activities on Saturday to an area close to the Vietnamese coast after the United States and Australia expressed concern about China’s actions on disputed waterways.

“Recently, China has resumed its coercive intervention in Vietnam’s long-standing oil and gas activities in the South China Sea,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

Beijing’s activities contradict Chinese Defense Minister Wei Feng He’s pledge this year to commit his country to “the path of peaceful development,” the Pentagon said.

“China will not win the trust of its neighbors nor respect the international community to continue bullying tactics,” the statement said.

Vietnam and China have been at odds for years over a potentially water-rich area and a busy shipping lane in the South China Sea.

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