WASHINGTON May 22 The White House said on
Thursday it would support the use of legal action by Vietnam
against China to resolve a dispute after the deployment of a
Chinese oil rig to disputed waters in the South China Sea.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said, in comments
to Reuters, his government was considering various "defense
options" against China, including legal action.
U.S. support for such a move would likely upset Beijing.
"The United States has a national interest in maintenance of
peace and stability; respect for international law; unimpeded
lawful commerce; and freedom of navigation and over flight in
the South China Sea," White House spokesman Patrick Ventrell
said in response to questions about the prime minister's
"The United States supports the use of diplomatic and other
peaceful means to manage and resolve disagreements, including
the use of arbitration or other international legal mechanisms."
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Jeff Mason; Editing by Eric