Repsol is currently plugging its highly successful appraisal well with cement and preparing to sail away from a total investment of more than $300 million. Reports from the region say a Chinese seismic survey vessel, the HYSY760 , protected by a small flotilla, is on its way to the same area to examine the prospects for itself. UNCLOS has been upended, and the rules-based order has been diminished. This wasn’t inevitable nor a fait accompli . If Hanoi thought Washington had its back, China could have been deterred — and the credibility of the United States in the region strengthened. Instead, Trump has left the region drifting in the direction of Beijing.