Tue, May 06 16:59 PM EDT
By Greg Torode
HONG KONG (Reuters) - The United States on Tuesday sharply criticized the movement of a huge Chinese oil rig that Vietnam says has entered its waters, the latest show of Beijing's growing assertiveness to raise alarm among smaller countries in the region.
The Vietnamese accusation came days after U.S. President Barack Obama visited Asia to underline his commitment to allies there, including Japan and the Philippines who are themselves locked in territorial disputes with China.
Obama, promoting a strategic "pivot" toward the Asia-Pacific region, also visited South Korea and Malaysia, but not China.
Vietnam has condemned the operation of the deepwater drilling rig in what it says are its waters in the South China Sea, and told China's state-run oil company to remove it.
In Washington, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters: "Given the recent history of tensions in the South China Sea, China's decision to operate its oil rig in disputed waters is provocative and unhelpful to the maintenance of peace and stability in the region."
"These events point to the need for claimants to clarify their claims in accordance with international law, and reach an agreement ... about what types of activities should be permissible within disputed areas," she added.
Vietnam also protested the move.
read more (news of Reuter)