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Daily Press Briefings on May 13, 2014 About Secretary Kerry Conversation with Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister and Chinese Foreign Ministry About Introduction An Oil Rig In Waters Disputed With Vietnam


May 13, 2014

SOURCE: U.S. State Department

Jen Psaki
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
May 13, 2014

QUESTION: I have a couple on China.

MS. PSAKI: Okay. Let’s go to Russia and China. And I have to go momentarily here, so can we actually give a few other people? Why don’t you go ahead?

QUESTION: Sure. So yesterday, the State Department provided a readout of Secretary Kerry’s call with Foreign Minister Wang of China.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

QUESTION: And they discussed – what prompted the phone call yesterday, actually?

MS. PSAKI: Well, obviously, we remain in touch with China on several levels about a range of issues. We put a pretty extensive readout out last night about the call and what they discussed, and I’m happy to reiterate some of those points. They certainly discussed our commitment to working toward North Korean denuclearization. Secretary Kerry raised our strong concerns about North Korea’s recent threats to carry out further provocations, and they also discussed our concerns about recent developments in the South China Sea. And the Secretary said China’s introduction of an oil rig and numerous government vessels in waters disputed with Vietnam was provocative.

I would also note that he also spoke with Vietnamese deputy prime minister and foreign minister as well – let me just check what day that was. He spoke with him on Sunday and he emphasized during that call our strong concerns over recent developments in the South China Sea and stated our view that China’s unilateral introduction of an oil rig and numerous government vessels disputed with Vietnam was provocative, just as he did on the call with China. He urged both sides on both calls to de-escalate tensions, to engage in high-level dialogue, to ensure safe conduct by their vessels at sea, and to resolve the dispute through peaceful means.

QUESTION: And did the Secretary outline any specific measures that the U.S. would take in response to further provocative actions from China?

MS. PSAKI: That – I don’t have any further – anything further to add from the readout of the call we provided.

Let’s just do two more here in the back. Go ahead.

QUESTION: I have a follow-up on this – it seems that Chinese foreign ministry wasn’t quite happy with what the Secretary said, because last night during their press conference, and I quote here, the Chinese foreign ministry said, they are not taking – those provocative action were not taken by China. “It’s nothing but the wrong words and actions made by the United States,” and the U.S. “have emboldened some countries to take provocative actions,” and the U.S. needs to “think hard.” So will you? And will the U.S. consider to change its behavior in the South China Sea?

MS. PSAKI: Well, again, what we’re referring to here is unilateral action that appears to be part of a broader pattern of Chinese behavior to advance its claims over disputed areas in a matter that, in our view, undermines peace and stability in the region. And we certainly think any member of the global community has a right to express concern over that, though we don’t take a view of the – a position on the sovereignty over this area.

QUESTION: How do you characterize the atmosphere of the phone call?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t think I have anything further to add.


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