Vietnam's foreign ministry said that the blocks "lie entirely within Vietnam's 200-mile exclusive economic zone. This is absolutely not a disputed area. China says it has sovereign rights to the whole South China Sea, believed to sit atop vast oil and gas deposits. The sea is also claimed in whole or part by Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines."---
China has what is called a nine-dash line that basically extends from the Chinese mainland south all the way to the mainland of Malaysia - excuse me - and Indonesia and all the way up around up through the Philippines. So the whole central portion of the sea is claimed by China. Now, the other countries claim this is a ridiculous claim that China is making, that it does not conform to the Law of the Sea Treaty.
Vietnam is the top dog in this rivalry against China because the Philippines is a weak state with weak institutions. The Chinese don't really respect it much. Brunei is tiny. Malaysia's claims are much more - Malaysia has a much more balanced, even, you know, a friendly relationship with China. It's Vietnam that really drives the Chinese crazy.Ties Strengthening Between Vietnam And The U.S.