Foreign and Military Affairs

FM: Vietnam's oil exploration 'violates consensus'

Updated: 2011-05-30 07:54

By Qin Jize and Zhou Wa (China Daily)

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BEIJING - The Foreign Ministry on Saturday expressed opposition to Vietnam's offshore exploration of oil and gas in China's jurisdictional area of the South China Sea, saying the activity had violated the consensus reached by the two nations.

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Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu made the remarks after Hanoi complained that Chinese marine surveillance vessels interfered with its oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea and accused Beijing of violating its sovereignty.

"China's stance on the South China Sea is clear and consistent. Vietnam's exploration of oil and gas in China's jurisdictional sea area has undermined China's interests and jurisdictional rights in the South China Sea and violated the consensus both countries have reached on the issue. We oppose it," said Jiang.

"What relevant Chinese departments did was completely normal marine law enforcement and surveillance activities in China's jurisdictional sea area," she added.

She said that China is committed to safeguarding peace and stability in the South China Sea.

"We are willing to work together with relevant parties to seek a solution to related disputes and implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea," she said.

It is reported that Vietnam's Foreign Ministry protested against the incident by passing a diplomatic note to representatives of the Chinese embassy in Hanoi on Thursday.

Analysts dismissed Vietnam's accusation, saying it was groundless as international law and historical evidence supports China's sovereign rights in the South China Sea.

"There is no reason for Vietnam to accuse China," said Luo Yongkun, a researcher of Southeast Asian studies with China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR).

And such a move would only bring more trouble and make the situation more complicated, Luo added.

Chu Hao, an expert in Vietnamese studies at CICIR, said Vietnam's unilateral exploration activity in China's jurisdictional sea area goes against international norms and laws.

Both researchers said that the two countries should get round the negotiating table.

"Such consultation should be done under a bilateral framework," Luo added.



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