US envoy decries Chinese 'intimidation' in South China Sea

US envoy Robert O'Brien read a message from President Donald Trump inviting the Asean leaders to "join me in the United States for a special summit" in the first quarter of 2020.
US envoy Robert O'Brien read a message from President Donald Trump inviting the Asean leaders to "join me in the United States for a special summit" in the first quarter of 2020.PHOTO: AFP

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - A United States envoy on Monday (Nov 4) denounced Chinese "intimidation" in the South China Sea at a meeting of South-east Asian leaders, 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 Asean also have claims.

"Beijing has used intimidation to try to stop Asean nations from exploiting the off-shore resources, blocking access to US$2.5 trillion (S$3.39 trillion) of oil and gas reserves alone," US envoy Robert O'Brien told the Asean-US summit in a speech.

Mr O'Brien, the White House national security adviser, read a message from Mr Trump inviting the Asean leaders to "join me in the United States for a special summit" in the first quarter of 2020.