U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday the United States would not accept restrictions on freedom of navigation and overflight in the East Vietnam Sea.
Speaking at a regional meeting in Malaysia also attended by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Kerry said that despite assurances that these freedoms will be respected, warnings had been issued and restrictions attempted in recent months.
"Let me be clear: The United States will not accept restrictions on freedom of navigation and overflight, or other lawful uses of the sea," Kerry said.
"It doesn't matter whether a vessel is a large warship or a tiny fishing boat. The principle is clear: The rights of all nations must be respected."