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CNN: China blames Vietnam for rising tensions over disputed sea
By Steven Jiang, CNNJune 14, 2011 -- Updated 1348 GMT (2148 HKT)
- China and Vietnam are at odds over the South China Sea
- Six countries claim the sea in whole or in part
- The United States says it is neutral but has offered to mediate
- China rejects foreign intervention, but Vietnam has welcomed it
-- China Tuesday blamed its neighbors for escalating tensions in the
South China Sea, one day after the Vietnamese navy held a live-fire
drill in disputed waters.
"Some countries took unilateral actions
to impair China's sovereignty and maritime rights and interests,
released groundless and irresponsible remarks with the attempt to expand
and complicate the disputes," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei
at a regular press briefing.
Beijing and Hanoi have exchanged
increasingly heated words in recent weeks, accusing each other of
territorial intrusions in the South China Sea, which is claimed in whole
or in part by China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and
The vast area of waters, dotted with partially submerged
atolls and reefs, contain some of the world's busiest shipping lanes and
are thought to hold large deposits of oil and natural gas.
authorities have announced a few recent incidents, charging that
Chinese ships last week intentionally severed electric cables on
Vietnamese survey vessels in Vietnamese waters. Beijing has countered
that Vietnamese vessels have been illegally surveying in Chinese waters
and harassing Chinese fishing boats.
Computer hackers from both
sides have also attacked websites in the other country, posting
nationalistic images and messages, according to Chinese media reports.
tensions flare up periodically among the various claimants of the
disputed waters, the current situation is drawing more international
attention amid China's fast-growing political and military power.
The United States used to have Taiwan as its main bargaining chip in the region
--Prof. Zhang Xizhen, Peking Univsersity
The United States officially stays neutral in the disputes, despite
some Congressional calls for a more forceful stance to balance China's
clout. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, however, has expressed
Washington's willingness to facilitate multilateral talks on the issue.
United States has a national interest in freedom of navigation, open
access to Asia's maritime commons and respect for international law in
the South China Sea," she said last July at a regional security meeting
Chinese analysts see the United States using the South China Sea issue as a new way to contain China's rise.
United States used to have Taiwan as its main bargaining chip in the
region," said Zhang Xizhen, a professor of Southeast Asian studies at
Peking University. "Now that tensions across the Taiwan Strait have
calmed down, they are turning to the South China Sea."
the U.S. claimed neutrality on the issue, if conflicts arise in the
area, they may use it as an excuse to intervene," he added.
Beijing leadership balks at any notion of "internationalizing" the
dispute, in sharp contrast to a recent comment by Vietnamese officials
welcoming foreign involvement.
"China always maintains that
countries directly related to the issue should conduct bilateral
negotiations and friendly consultations," Foreign Ministry spokesman
"China is trying to safeguard its
own legitimate rights and interests, not infringing on other countries'
rights," he added. "Justice lies in the heart of the people."