News / Asia

US to Monitor South China Sea

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) steps off his aircraft alongside Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in Sydney, August 11, 2014.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) steps off his aircraft alongside Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in Sydney, August 11, 2014.
Reuters

The United States will monitor the South China Sea to see whether "de-escalatory steps'' are being taken, a U.S. State Department official said on Monday, a day after China repelled U.S. pressure to rein in actions in the disputed waters.

The official spoke as Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Sydney for a meeting with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Australian officials to discuss increased defense and cyber security cooperation.

Spratly Islands, China Sea Territorial ClaimsSpratly Islands, China Sea Territorial Claims
x
Spratly Islands, China Sea Territorial Claims
Spratly Islands, China Sea Territorial Claims

A U.S. proposal for a freeze on provocative acts in the South China Sea got a cool response from China and some Southeast Asian nations at a regional meeting at the weekend, an apparent setback to U.S. efforts to thwart China's assertive moves.


 "The immediate follow-up ... is to assess the meeting scheduled in a few weeks between ASEAN and China at the working group and the senior official level to discuss what equates to the freeze,'' the U.S. official told reporters.

"We will also be monitoring the actual situation around the rocks, reefs, and shoals in the South China Sea.''

China's Xinhua state news agency warned on Monday that "by stoking the flames, Washington is further emboldening countries like the Philippines and Vietnam to take a hardline stance against China, raising suspicion over the real intention of the United States and make an amicable solution more difficult to reach.''

"It is a painful reality that Uncle Sam has left too many places in chaos after it stepped in, as what people are witnessing now in Iraq, Syria and Libya,'' Xinhua added in a commentary. ``The South China Sea should not be the next one.''

Tension spiked in May when China parked a giant oil rig in waters claimed by Vietnam. The U.S. and Philippine proposals aimed to prevent such action, as well as building and land reclamation work on disputed islands being carried out by China and other claimants.

The rancor over the disputed sea has split ASEAN, with several states including some of the claimant nations reluctant to jeopardize rising trade and investment ties with China.

China has been able to use its influence to block regional action on the maritime issue before, most notably in 2012 when an ASEAN meeting chaired by Chinese ally Cambodia broke down in acrimony.

"I think it's pretty clear, China's actions speak for themselves,'' U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters at a briefing in Sydney, adding the U.S. position remained that such disputes should be resolved through international law.

'Pacific power'

Australia was one of the countries to support the U.S. proposal at the weekend ASEAN meeting in Myanmar.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop traveled to Australia with Kerry and they planned to explore follow up actions to the Myanmar talks including an upcoming meeting between ASEAN members and China, the official said.

Bishop is hosting the annual Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) in Sydney, where defense and security cooperation is expected to be high on the agenda along with Iraq and Ukraine.

Talks will include discussions on cooperation in ballistic missile defense, cyber security and maritime security, Hagel told reporters at a briefing with Australian Defense Minister David Johnston ahead of the formal talks.

The ministers will sign an agreement reached between President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on the deployment of U.S. marines to Australia for joint exercises and training in areas such as disaster relief.

"It will expand our regional cooperation here in Asia-Pacific from engagement with ASEAN to the trilateral cooperation that we have been working on with Japan,'' Hagel said, adding that the U.S. was firmly committed to its rebalance to the region.

"We have an interest here, we will continue to have an interest here, we are a Pacific power.''

Some 1,150 Marines are stationed in Darwin in Australia's tropical north under a 2011 agreement that launched President Barack Obama's strategic "pivot'' to the fast-growing Asia region.  The Marine contingent, primed to respond to regional conflicts and humanitarian crises, is expected to swell to 2,500 by 2017.

Obama's pivot has irked China, which sees it as an attempt to block its growing diplomatic, military and political influence across the region, and has faced criticism from some allies doubtful about U.S. commitment to the strategy.

Johnston said the further deployment of U.S. troops in Australia would be one of the issues on the agenda at Tuesday's talks, amid reports that the U.S. plans to station more fighter jets and bombers in Australia's north.

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry rests his hands on the shoulders of Australian Ambassador to the U.S., Kim Beazley, upon his arrival in Sydney, Aug. 11, 2014.
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry steps off his aircraft alongside Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, in Sydney, Aug. 11, 2014.
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (right) chats with school children while visiting the National Maritime Museum in Sydney, Aug. 11, 2014.
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, meets with Australian sailor Jessica Watson, right, during a visit to the National Maritime Museum in Sydney, Aug. 11, 2014.
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets students from several Sydney high schools during his visit aboard a replica of Captain Cook's ship 'Endeavour' at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney, Australia, Aug. 11, 2014.

You May Like

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid