A Chinese analyst rejected an accusation by Vietnam, defending Chinese actions taken in the South China Sea as regular maritime law enforcement and urging Vietnam to avoid encroaching upon China’s territorial sovereignty.
Vietnamese foreign ministry spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga was quoted by Reuters as saying on Thursday that a Chinese fishing boat deployed a cable-cutting device and trapped it in a network of underwater cables in use by a Vietnamese ship.
The ship was operating over Vietnam’s continental shelf and within its exclusive economic zone, she added.
Su Hao, the head of the Strategy and Conflict Management Research Center at China Foreign Affair University, told the Global Times that Chinese actions in the South China Sea are in accord with the principle of developing maritime resources. He alleged that the incident had been provoked deliberately by Vietnam, and was in violation of a 2002 pact to refrain from actions that could inflame tensions in the area.
Vietnam aims to create a dispute about maritime resources, he added.
Vietnam also uses the South China Sea row to gain international attention and enhance bilateral relations with the US to receive bolstered economic support, Su said.
The incident came two weeks after Vietnam made allegations that Chinese surveillance ships had confronted a Vietnamese oil exploration vessel in South China Sea water.
China has denied the accusation, saying “the law enforcement activities by Chinese maritime surveillance ships against Vietnam’s illegally operating ships are completely justified.”
“We urge Vietnam to immediately stop its infringement activities and refrain from creating new troubles,” Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said May 31.
Meanwhile, Vietnam is determined to keep challenging China over the sovereignty of two South China Sea archipelagos, according to AFP.
“We continue to affirm strongly and to manifest the strongest determination of all the Party, of all the people and of all the army to protect Vietnamese sovereignty in maritime zones and islands of the country,” Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said on Thursday.
China reaffirmed that it has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha, Xisha Islands and their adjacent waters.
Su said that Vietnam’s hard stance over the issue would cause more tensions between the two countries, and render the matter more complex.
Source: Global Times