(BGF) – The Wall Street Journal reported the fared tensions in the potentially resource-rich South China Sea as China warned its neighbors to stop looking for oil while Vietnam accused China of sabotaging a seismic survey boat. Beijing has contributed to mounting worries over the stability of the South China Sea through its efforts to extend the reach and influence of its military, alongside the hunger for natural resources.
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Tensions Flare Over Disputed Asian Sea
June 10, 2011 | By James Hookway
(Photo Credit: The Wall Street Journal)
BANGKOK (The Wall Street Journal) —Tensions in the potentially resource-rich South China Sea flared as Vietnam accused China of sabotaging a seismic survey boat while China warned its neighbors to stop looking for oil in the disputed territory without its permission.
Beijing’s efforts to extend the reach and influence of its military, alongside its hunger for natural resources, have contributed to mounting worries in recent months over the stability of the South China Sea.
The conflict has escalated into a series of clashes between Vietnamese exploration craft and Chinese patrol boats and a worsening war of words with the Philippines.
In the latest incident, Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday said a Chinese fishing boat supported by two Chinese naval patrol craft cut a cable being used by a seismic survey craft operated by state-run energy company PetroVietnam.
Ministry spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga said the Chinese boat’s actions were “completely premeditated” and “seriously violated Vietnam’s sovereign rights.”
China’s ambassador to the Philippines, Liu Jianchao, denied any wrongdoing in the area while also urging South China Sea claimants to stop drilling for oil and gas.
China fired back late Thursday, accusing Vietnam of “seriously infringing” China’s sovereignty and maritime interests. In a statement posted on the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s website, spokesman Hong Lei blamed Vietnam for Thursday’s incident, saying the Chinese fishing boat had been dragged for more than an hour after becoming entangled in the cable used by the Vietnamese vessel. “The Vietnamese vessel’s actions seriously threatened the safety of the Chinese fishermen,” Mr. Hong said.
Mr. Hong also reiterated Beijing’s claim that “as everyone knows, China possesses indisputable sovereignty” over the Spratlys and the maritime area around them.
Security analysts say the incident reflects a pattern of Chinese muscle-flexing in the disputed waters, which are claimed in whole or in part by Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia in addition to China, which considers the entire South China Sea as its sovereign territory.
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