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Iran Press TV

US National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien accuses Beijing of 'intimidation' in South China Sea

Iran Press TV

Mon Nov 4, 2019 03:24PM

US National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien has accused Beijing of "intimidation" in the South China Sea during a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Speaking Monday in Thailand's capital of Bangkok, O'Brien also conveyed an invitation from US President Donald Trump for the ASEAN leaders to attend a special summit in the United States.

"Beijing has used intimidation to try to stop ASEAN nations from exploiting the off-shore resources, blocking access to 2.5 trillion dollars of oil and gas reserve alone," O'Brien said.

He also read a message from Trump inviting the ASEAN leaders to "join me in the United States for a special summit" in the first quarter of 2020.

Trump appointed O'Brien on September 18 to succeed John Bolton as White House national security adviser. He was previously US Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs.

The three-day ASEAN summit in Bangkok closes Monday. Established in 1967, the ASEAN group is comprised of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

ASEAN diplomats issued a joint statement on the South China Sea, which expresses "serious incidents in the area, which have eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions and may undermine peace, security and stability in the region," one of the diplomats said.

The phrase would not name China or mention other details, the diplomat said.

A legally binding code has long been a goal for ASEAN members as China's maritime claims in the South China Sea are rejected by several members of the group.

China claims virtually the entire South China Sea, a vital waterway for global commerce.

China and the United States have traded barbs in the past over what Washington has said is Beijing's militarization of the South China Sea by building military installations on artificial islands and reefs in disputed waters.

The US-Chinese relationship have been strained over an array of issues including a year-long trade war, US sanctions on China's military, and US ties with Taiwan, which Beijing considers a renegade province.

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