US envoy decries Chinese ‘intimidation’ in South China Sea

US envoy decries Chinese ‘intimidation’ in South China Sea

US National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, third from left, poses for a group photograph with Asean leaders and foreign ministers, from left, Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and Brunei Second Minister of Foreign Affaires and Trade Erywan Yusof during the Asean-US summit in Nonthaburi, Thailand, on Monday. (AP Photo)
US National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, third from left, poses for a group photograph with Asean leaders and foreign ministers, from left, Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and Brunei Second Minister of Foreign Affaires and Trade Erywan Yusof during the Asean-US summit in Nonthaburi, Thailand, on Monday. (AP Photo)

A US envoy on Monday denounced Chinese "intimidation" in the South China Sea at a meeting of Southeast Asian leaders in Nonthaburi, and conveyed an invitation from President Donald Trump for the leaders to attend a special summit in the United States.

China has made sweeping maritime claims in the resource-rich waters of the South China Sea, and angered neighbours by sending ships into the busy waterway, where several members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) also have claims.

"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," US envoy Robert O'Brien told the Asean-US summit in a speech.

O'Brien, the White House national security adviser, 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.


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