A couple of days after Vietnam’s ambassador to India, Pham Sanh Chau met Indian foreign secretary Harsh Shringla and briefed him about Chinese transgression in the South China Sea near the Woody Islands and asked India to explore the region for oil and gas blocks–China has gone into a damage-control mode.
According to a South China Morning Post, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has urged Vietnam to come to the negotiating table over their territorial dispute in the South China Sea. Beijing is wary that if India interferes on behalf of Vietnam than its bullying tactics won’t work as effectively in the region as they have been up until now.
The report stated that Wang met Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh at Dongxing on the China-Vietnam border and asked for solving land as well as maritime boundary disputes.
“We have to draw on the successful practice in solving land boundary issues to seek an early settlement of maritime disputes … The two countries have the ability and wisdom to continue with negotiations on maritime problems,” Wang said, according to the Chinese foreign ministry statement.
The reason Vietnam had to turn to India is that China deployed its H-6J bomber earlier this month to the Woody Island, the largest of the disputed Paracel Islands.
The Paracel Islands lie over 180 kilometres away from the closest Chinese territory, yet, being the absurd nation that China is–the dragon claims the islands as its own.
Diplomatic charm offensive strategy
Lately, Beijing has been devising a diplomatic charm offensive strategy in the region where it is projecting itself as a model-neighbour who is concerned about the maritime rights of other nations. The sole aim of meeting Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister is to stop its regional partner to side with India or the US.
Even during the 12th meeting of the China-Vietnam Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, pretty uncharacteristically to China’s long-drawn stance, had stated that the South China Sea is the “common home” of China and the ASEAN countries.
If Beijing indeed is earnest in its approach and wants to solve the maritime border issues with countries in the South China Sea then it should put its money where its mouth is.
Since July 1, China’s military is conducting aggressive exercises in and around the Paracel Islands and has been threatening all the parties by announcing that “during the period (of the exercise), no vessel shall be allowed to navigate (in the large training area and) all vessels have to follow the guidance of the commanding ship on site.”
While Xi Jinping’s private militia continues to create fluttering splashes in the sovereign boundaries of Vietnam, its foreign minister quite brazenly is conducting a meeting and asking for resolution.
Vietnam wants India
For a long term solution, Vietnam has sought a greater role for India in exploring oil and gas blocks off its coast in the South China Sea, despite opposition from China, saying that the area falls in its exclusive economic zone.
If India indeed takes up this proposal then the authoritarian regime of Xi Jinping will be dealt a huge blow. The sole reason Beijing undertakes such encroachment drives in the South China Sea is because of its rich, hydrocarbon laden seabed. Vietnam giving access to India without minimal effort will be a huge diplomatic slap for China.
China has over-exploited the resources in its country and now wants to gobble up other country’s natural resources. The thirst of expansionism has driven Xi Jinping to consummate lengths to realize his dreams; the world has now woken up to the threat of China.