As the Chinese government announced of its military exercises in the disputed South China Sea, around the mouth of the Gulf of Tonkin in the East Sea to be specific, Vietnam has expressed its deep concerns. There are disagreements between the two neighbours over the disputed waters and this announcement by the Chinese government has pushed the tension between the two to its highest level in the past three years.
Le Thi Thu Hang, Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson said, “Vietnam’s stance is that all foreign activities in waters under Vietnam’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction must comply with Vietnamese and international laws, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Vietnam proposes China to cease and refrain from repeating acts that complicate the situation in the East Sea.”
On August 31, Vietnam sent a representative from its Foreign Ministry to meet its counterpart in the Embassy of China in Hanoi to make the stance of its country clear on the issue.
With Vietnam strengthening its defence ties with India, US and Japan, China is feeling uneasy. Vietnam has also paced up its efforts to rally with Southeast Asian countries over this busy waterway.
The South China Sea is a busy waterway through which the international trade of US$3 trillion passes yearly. It is but natural that all countries around it try to claim their control over it with China claiming almost the entire South China Sea. The other players who claim it as their territory are Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan