Hanoi’s charges ‘ir­re­spon­si­ble’

Ex­pert: Philip­pines, Viet­nam form front to chal­lenge China on ter­ri­tory

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By PU ZHENDONG puzhen­dong@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Bei­jing slammed Hanoi on Thurs­day for “mak­ing ir­re­spon­si­ble ac­cu­sa­tions” against China on the in­ter­na­tional stage, fol­low­ing Viet­nam’s de­ci­sion a day ear­lier to con­sider pur­su­ing le­gal ac­tion over China’s is­lands in the South China Sea.

The is­sue is be­ing in­ter­na­tion­al­ized and com­pli­cated, ob­servers said, as Viet­nam may align with the Philip­pines and fol­low Manila’s ex­am­ple and file a case at an in­ter­na­tional court, a de­vel­op­ment one an­a­lyst said in­di­cated a “front” was be­ing formed against China.

Dur­ing a visit to Manila on Wed­nes­day, Viet­namese Prime Min­is­ter Nguyen Tan Dung said Hanoi was con­sid­er­ing var­i­ous “de­fense op­tions” against China, in­clud­ing le­gal ac­tion, Reuters re­ported.

Dung did not elab­o­rate on the other op­tions be­ing con­sid­ered, but at a joint news con­fer­ence with Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Benigno Aquino Dung said Viet­nam and the Philip­pines “call on coun­tries and the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to con­tinue strongly con­demn­ing China and de­mand­ing China im­me­di­ately end the vi­o­la­tions”. How­ever, Aquino did not men­tion the ter­ri­to­rial ten­sions with China in his speech.

For­eign Min­istry spokesman Hong Lei said at a news con­fer­ence on Thurs­day that Viet­nam is sim­ply con­fus­ing right and wrong.

“As for who is chal­leng­ing an­other coun­try’s sovereignty, who is cre­at­ing ten­sions and who is sab­o­tag­ing peace and sta­bil­ity in the South China Sea, facts speak louder than words,” Hong said.

Last year, Manila sub­mit­ted a case to a UN ar­bi­tra­tion tri­bunal in The Hague chal­leng­ing China’s claims in the South China Sea. Bei­jing has re­fused to par­tic­i­pate, in­sist­ing that the best way to re­solve mat­ters is bi­lat­eral talks.

On Thurs­day, Viet­namese

As for who is chal­leng­ing an­other coun­try’s sovereignty, who is cre­at­ing ten­sions and who is sab­o­tag­ing peace and sta­bil­ity in the South China Sea, facts speak louder than words.” HONG LEI FOR­EIGN MIN­ISTRY SPOKESMAN

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Vu Duc Dam said the coun­try is closely watch­ing how the Philip­pines fares in an in­ter­na­tional court over its mar­itime dis­pute with China, ac­cord­ing to Reuters.

Wu Shi­cun, pres­i­dent of the Na­tional In­sti­tute for South China Sea Stud­ies, said: “It is pretty ob­vi­ous that Viet­nam and the Philip­pines are form­ing a front to con­front China on the South China Sea is­sue as the two coun­tries have both been stir­ring trou­ble re­cently in re­gional wa­ters and have de­manded that ASEAN re­lease a state­ment on this is­sue.

“Bei­jing’s mea­sures to re­spond to the ap­par­ently anti-China al­liance forged by Viet­nam and the Philip­pines should vary given the dif­fer­ent con­di­tions of the two coun­tries,” Wu said.

“Bi­lat­er­ally, China and Viet­nam have open and smooth com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nels, which ush­ers in the pos­si­bil­ity for more diplo­matic con­sul­ta­tions to solve prob­lem. For the Philip­pines, China should take mul­ti­ple mea­sures, in­clud­ing eco­nomic ones, to pull Manila back to the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble,” Wu said.

Li Guo­qiang, deputy di­rec­tor of the Cen­ter for Chi­nese Border­land His­tory and Ge­og­ra­phy at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sci­ences, said Hanoi and Manila tend to per­ceive China as a com­mon op­po­nent and there­fore share sim­i­lar pol­icy op­tions, but it is un­likely that the two coun­tries will frame an “an­tiChina coali­tion”.

“Viet­nam and the Philip­pines have dif­fer­ent in­ter­ests in the South China Sea. They are play­ing dif­fer­ent roles and have a dif­fer­ent in­flu­ence in the re­gion,” Li said. “A coali­tion against China will risk great dam­age to their ties with China, which nei­ther of them can af­ford.”

“In the big pic­ture, the two coun­tries should re­al­ize that the South China Sea does not ac­count for the en­tirety of re­la­tions,” he added.

On May 2, Viet­nam sent mil­i­tary ships to ha­rass Chi­nese oil drilling op­er­a­tions around Zhongjian Is­land in the Xisha Is­lands, well within China’s ter­ri­to­rial wa­ters. An­tiChina protests in Viet­nam fol­lowed and soon turned vi­o­lent, claim­ing the lives of two Chi­nese cit­i­zens and in­jur­ing hun­dreds of oth­ers.

“China re­peat­edly asked the Viet­namese to stop the vi­o­lence. How­ever, in­stead, they turned a blind eye,” Hong said.

Hong said Viet­nam should im­me­di­ately end the mar­itime ha­rass­ment, pun­ish the per­pe­tra­tors of the ri­ots and com­pen­sate for the property dam­age. Reuters con­trib­uted to this story.

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