Commentary: Vietnam is solely responsible for latest maritime standoff with China
                 English.news.cn | 2014-05-16 12:08:25 | Editor: Fu Peng

by Xinhua Writer Ming Jinwei

BEIJING, May 16 (Xinhua) -- The standoff between China and Vietnam in the South China Sea since May 2 has once again gripped global attention.

The United States wasted no time before rushing to blame China for so-called "provocative" actions.

The narrative all sounds too familiar: a rising China has become increasingly assertive in maritime disputes and constantly bullied its smaller neighbors.

But this narrative is, as it has always been, fundamentally flawed.

The area in focus is in the continuous zone of China's Xisha Islands, over which Beijing, with sound historical and legal proof, has long claimed sovereignty.

China has been preparing for drilling in the area for the last decade. The location is just 17 nautical miles from China's Zhongjian Island and some 130 to 150 nautical miles from Vietnam's coast.

Things turned sour only after Vietnamese ships and personnel repeatedly tried to disrupt the normal operations by a Chinese oil company.

In the following days, China has to beef up protection of the site.

Vietnam's stubbornness in harassing the Chinese oil rig runs huge risk, putting the safety of both the Chinese and Vietnamese personnel in jeopardy. It could also lead to unforeseeable and deadly consequences.

It is rather unwise for Vietnam to stoke up tensions in the South China Sea at this moment.

China values its ties with Vietnam. That's why Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, during his visit to Hanoi last October, worked relentlessly with Vietnamese leaders to comprehensively push forward bilateral cooperation over land, in the sea and in the financial sector.

But Vietnam has to understand China, while seeking win-win cooperation, will never sacrifice its sovereignty in the process.

At the same time, Vietnam's failure to rein in deadly mob attacks against foreign nationals and investment serves the country no good.

It tarnishes Vietnam's international image and undermines the government's credibility. Such chaos could easily spread and pose a real threat to Vietnam's own stability and national security.

China has never meant to create trouble in the South China Sea, but the country is not afraid of any trouble other countries might try to make in the region.

For Vietnam, after more than two weeks of counterproductive measures, it has to let cooler minds prevail and refrain from taking any moves that could further escalate the situation.

Related:

Commentary: Vietnam must ensure safety of Chinese citizens in the country

HANOI, May 15 (Xinhua) -- Relations between China and Vietnam have largely enjoyed steady progress in recent years.

During Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Hanoi last October, the two countries agreed to comprehensively push forward bilateral cooperation over land, in the sea and in the financial sector. Full story

Vietnamese official vows to suppress illegal actions in anti-China protests

HANOI, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Tran Van Nam, vice chairman of Binh Duong Province People's Committee, said in a interview on Wednesday that Binh Duong is determined to suppress those who force others to take illegal actions.

On Tuesday, the anti-China protests in Binh Duong Province, some 1,120 km south of Vietnamese capital Hanoi, went violent. Thousands protesters broke into foreign factories, conducting wrecking and looting, which leads to over 1,000 factories shut down and over 15 factories burning down. Most of the factories belong to China's Taiwan invested companies, local Chinese told Xinhua on Wednesday.  Full story

China urges against Vietnamese interference in territorial water exploration

BEIJING, May 7 (Xinhua) -- China said on Wednesday that operation of its drilling rig 981 near the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea is legal and urged Vietnam to stop disturbing China's exploration activities in its territorial waters.

Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying made the remarks at a regular press conference. Full story

China Focus: China urges Vietnam to respect its sovereign rights over Xisha Islands

BEIJING, May 9 (Xinhua) -- China on Friday again urged Vietnam to respect China's sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea and stop provocative actions.

Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying made the remarks at a regular press briefing. Full story

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