The Department of Defense is greatly concerned by China's continued efforts to violate the rules-based international order throughout the Indo-Pacific. Recently, China resumed its coercive interference in Vietnam's longstanding oil and gas activities in the South China Sea (SCS), directly contradicting Chinese Minister of Defense Wei Fenghe’s pledge at the Shangri-La Dialogue that China would “stick to the path of peaceful development.” China's actions stand in contrast to the United States' vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region, in which all nations, large and small, are secure in their sovereignty, free from coercion, and able to pursue economic growth consistent with accepted international rules and norms.
China will not win the trust of its neighbors nor the respect of the international community by maintaining its bullying tactics. Its actions to coerce ASEAN claimants, station offensive military systems, and enforce an unlawful maritime claim raise serious doubts over China's credibility. The United States will continue to support efforts by our allies and partners to ensure freedom of navigation and economic opportunity throughout the entire Indo-Pacific.