The US on Saturday expressed concern over reports that China is hampering other countries’ oil and gas activities in the South China Sea and accused Beijing of acting like a bully. The State Department said such acts by China -- it did not say when they are alleged to have happened -- threaten regional peace and security. It said these acts were interfering in particular with Vietnamese oil and gas exploration and production.
“As Secretary Pompeo noted earlier this year, ‘by blocking development in the SCS through coercive means, China prevents Asean members from accessing more than US$2.5 trillion in recoverable energy reserves,’” spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement, referring to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Asean is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.