Bill Gertz, Washington Free Beacon
China is stepping up provocative actions and harsh rhetoric in maritime disputes in the South China Sea as Secretary of State John Kerry and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi traded words on the growing tensions.
Chinese maritime police ships fired water cannons on Vietnamese fishing boats on Tuesday near a Chinese oil-drilling rig that was towed recently to the disputed Paracel islands, which is claimed by both China and Vietnam. Earlier, Vietnamese fishing vessels collided with a Chinese frigate that was part of the ship convoy moving the oil rig.
Kerry, in a telephone conversation with Wang Monday, “emphasized our strong concerns over recent developments in the South China Sea,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. …
China shot back Tuesday that it was the United States that is causing trouble in the region by emboldening its friends to protest the Chinese actions. …The latest Chinese actions in the region followed Beijing’s imposition of new rules Jan. 1 that require all non-Chinese fishing vessels to first obtain approval from China before fishing or operating in most of the South China Sea.
China has imposed what it calls a “nine-dash line” over the Sea as its maritime territory, a claim that covers most of the waters, contrary to claims by Vietnam, Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, and Taiwan.
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