The United States accused China on Monday of "imperialism" and of using "intimidation" to seize the natural resources of Southeast Asia, in a reference to the territorial dispute of the South China Sea that the Asian giant maintains with several countries of the region.
"Beijing has used intimidation to prevent the countries of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) from exploiting their natural resources … The region has no interest in returning to an imperial era," said the Assistant to the President on U.S. National Security Issues, Robert O'Brien, at the summit that ASEAN and its partners are held in Bangkok.
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, a key maritime space for international trade and rich in natural resources that are also partially claimed by Brunei, the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam, ASEAN member countries along with Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Singapore and Thailand.
In the absence of US President Donald Trump, O'Brien read a statement from the president in which he stressed that the US and the countries of the regional bloc "share the same values" and invited their leaders to visit the US for a summit, even to be organized, which would be held in the first quarter of next year.
With Trump absent and with the presence of Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, at the ASEAN summit, the Asian giant, the largest trading partner in the region, has acquired a greater role than the US at a time when both superpowers are engaged in a trade war.
One of the central themes of the summit in Bangkok is that of the negotiations of the Regional Integral Economic Association (RCEP), a free trade agreement promoted by China and that would join almost a third of the world economy.
The US is not included in the RCEP, which in addition to China includes Australia, South Korea, Japan, India, New Zealand and the ten members of ASEAN, who announced Monday that they are willing to join him in 2020.
. (tagsToTranslate) United (t) intimidation (t) China (t) Southeast (t) Asiatic