U.S. lawmakers call Chinese actions in South China Sea 'troubling'

WASHINGTON Fri May 9, 2014 5:40pm EDT

A Chinese ship (R) uses water cannon on a Vietnamese Sea Guard ship on the South China Sea near the Paracels islands, in this handout photo taken on May 3, 2014 and released by the Vietnamese Marine Guard on May 8, 2014. REUTERS/Vietnam Marine Guard/Handout via Reuters

A Chinese ship (R) uses water cannon on a Vietnamese Sea Guard ship on the South China Sea near the Paracels islands, in this handout photo taken on May 3, 2014 and released by the Vietnamese Marine Guard on May 8, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Vietnam Marine Guard/Handout via Reuters

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Six U.S. senators urged their colleagues on Friday to support legislation reaffirming U.S. support for freedom of navigation, saying they consider China's recent actions in the South China Sea troubling.

China this week accused Vietnam of intentionally colliding with its ships in the South China Sea after Vietnam asserted that Chinese vessels used water cannon and rammed eight of its vessels during the weekend near an oil rig China deployed in a disputed area.

"These actions threaten the free flow of global commerce in a vital region," Democratic Senators Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Ben Cardin of Maryland and Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Republicans Marco Rubio of Florida, Jim Risch of Idaho and John McCain of Arizona said in a joint statement.

China's movement of the rig and "subsequent aggressive tactics" by its ships are "deeply troubling," they said.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry accused the United States on Friday of stoking tensions in the disputed region.

China claims almost of the South China Sea, rejecting rival claims to parts or all of the oil- and gas-rich waters from Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.

The six senators introduced a resolution in April affirming U.S. support for freedom of navigation in the region and urging the parties involved in any territorial disputes to seek peaceful democratic resolutions.

Separately on Friday, U.S. Representative Eliot Engel of New York, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, termed China's action "needless provocations."

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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Comments (6)
tommelba wrote:
This conflict with China goes back to the Korean War. We lost several U-2′s that were shot down by the Chineese in this reagion and you can bet we will have to face this again. Sad with the Admminstrration which does know how to defennd our Nationa.

May 09, 2014 6:54pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Bighammerman wrote:
Obama has turned the entire world into a disaster. This is what happens when a President is ill equipped to lead the country. Will his supporters be happy when Obama starts WWIII?

May 09, 2014 12:42am EDT  --  Report as abuse
oger1234 wrote:
With Chinese economy’s growth slowing, China is trying to rally their citizens thru nationalism or else the ruling elites will face an internal issue the central government won’t be able to control.

May 10, 2014 1:00am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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