US

US official questions China's intentions in South China Sea

  • U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, center, claps with U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius, second from right, during his visit to Vietnam National University in Hanoi, Vietnam, Thursday, April, 21, 2016. Blinken on Thursday questioned China's intentions with its massive land reclamation project in the South China Sea during his visit. China claims the entire South China sea, a water area believed to be rich in oil and gas and is one of the world's busiest maritime lines. The territorial claim is disputed by other countries in the region, including Vietnam and the Philippines. (AP Photo/Tran Van Minh)

    U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, center, claps with U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius, second from right, during his visit to Vietnam National University in Hanoi, Vietnam, Thursday, April, 21, 2016. Blinken on Thursday questioned China's intentions with its massive land reclamation project in the South China Sea during his visit. China claims the entire South China sea, a water area believed to be rich in oil and gas and is one of the world's busiest maritime lines. The territorial claim is disputed by other countries in the region, including Vietnam and the Philippines. (AP Photo/Tran Van Minh)  (The Associated Press)

  • U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, center, smiles with unidentified officials of Vietnam National University during his visit, in Hanoi, Vietnam, Thursday, April, 21, 2016. Blinken on Thursday questioned China's intentions with its massive land reclamation project in the South China Sea during his visit. China claims the entire South China sea, a water area believed to be rich in oil and gas and is one of the world's busiest maritime lines. The territorial claim is disputed by other countries in the region, including Vietnam and the Philippines. (AP Photo/Tran Van Minh)

    U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, center, smiles with unidentified officials of Vietnam National University during his visit, in Hanoi, Vietnam, Thursday, April, 21, 2016. Blinken on Thursday questioned China's intentions with its massive land reclamation project in the South China Sea during his visit. China claims the entire South China sea, a water area believed to be rich in oil and gas and is one of the world's busiest maritime lines. The territorial claim is disputed by other countries in the region, including Vietnam and the Philippines. (AP Photo/Tran Van Minh)  (The Associated Press)

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken says China's massive land reclamation projects in the South China Sea and its increasing militarization of these outposts is fueling regional tension and raising serious questions about China's intentions.

Blinken made the comments in a speech to several hundred students at Vietnam's National University in Hanoi on Thursday.

He says the United States will defend its national interest and support its allies and partners in the region, and that it will continue to sail, fly, and operate anywhere that international laws allow.

His trip comes as a preparation for a visit by President Barack Obama to Hanoi in late May.