The East Asian Ambassador of the United States has said that the situation in the South China Sea is very worrying

HANOI (Reuters) – U.S. Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Grittenbrink said on Saturday that the situation in the South China Sea was deeply concerning and that China’s recent actions in the disputed waterway were „deeply disturbing.”

Grittenbrink made the comments during a visit to Hanoi amid rising tensions between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea, which is also claimed by Vietnam.

„We think China’s actions around the second Thomas Shoal against the Philippines, especially its recent actions, are irresponsible, aggressive, dangerous and deeply destabilizing,” Grittenbrink told a select media conference in Hanoi. In which Reuters investigated.

„We’re going to continue to stand with our Philippine allies,” Kritenbrink said, adding that Washington has made it clear publicly and privately to Beijing that its mutual defense treaty obligations with the Philippines are „ironclad.”

On Friday, Philippine officials said they were not considering implementing a mutual defense agreement with the United States after China accused China of aggressively disrupting a reclamation mission in the disputed South China Sea earlier this month.

China’s Foreign Ministry denied the Philippines’ account, a spokesman said Thursday, saying the necessary measures were legal, professional and beyond reproach.

„We think that every country in the region, including China, should respect international law and behave responsibly in the maritime domain,” Kritenbrink said.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, including areas claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said China’s claims had no legal basis, a decision Beijing rejected.

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Gridenbrink arrived in Hanoi on Friday following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Vietnam, which has been heavily criticized by Washington.

„Only Vietnam can decide how to protect its sovereignty and advance its interests,” Grittenbrink said when asked about his view of Vietnam’s foreign policy and handling of Putin.

Vietnam and the United States During US President Joe Biden’s visit to Hanoi in September last year, Vietnam and the United States officially upgraded their relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Kritenbrink said the update was „historic and significant” and said he wanted to maintain momentum to ensure all agreements reached were implemented.

„We continue to believe that the US-Vietnam partnership has never been stronger,” he said.

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