Washington—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement on Chinese interference in Vietnamese-controlled waters:

“China’s recent aggression in the South China Sea is a disturbing demonstration of a country openly flouting international law. Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, China’s actions constitute a violation of Vietnamese sovereignty and its legitimate rights within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Just as importantly, China’s behavior threatens the interests of U.S. companies operating in the area.

“Since reports broke last week that Chinese oil exploration ships have entered Vietnam’s EEZ, Vietnam has made repeated requests for their removal—requests that China has willfully ignored.  This kind of harassment is a threat to Vietnam and evidence of China’s willingness to bully its neighbors.  Incidents like this demonstrate China’s blatant disregard for international law and diplomacy.

“I stand with Vietnam and our regional partners in condemning this aggression.  The international community must continue to uphold the rules-based order and international law. I call on China to immediately withdraw any and all ships from the territorial waters of its neighbors, and to put an end to these illegal bullying tactics.”

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