Vietnam has sought the support of India as part of its efforts to mobilise international opinion against China in the wake of Beijing’s ‘interference’ with the ongoing oil and gas activities in Vietnamese waters in the South China Sea, thus violating the South-East Asian nation’s sovereignty.
“We want India also to raise the issue since New Delhi has a direct stake in the matter,” Vietnamese diplomatic sources said here on Monday, drawing attention to the fact that nearly a dozen Chinese coast guard ships were still in the Vietnamese waters where the ONGC (Videsh) was among those involved in oil exploration activities.
Sources said another reason why India must take up the issue with China was that it was conducting more than 50 per cent of its international trade through the disputed sea. ‘When India says it stands for peace, stability and the rule of law, it must voice its opinion against China’s violation of Vietnam’s sovereignty,” they added.
Sources said Hanoi has already briefed Indian ministers and senior officials on the Chinese action against Vietnam in violation of UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). “We are told that India is formulating its stand on China’s clear violation of international law and its attempt at infringing upon Vietnam’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its waters,” they added.
Sources said Vietnam did not want to escalate the matter as it was hopeful Beijing would realise its mistake and eventually start respecting Hanoi’s sovereignty. However, they made it clear that Hanoi was determined to make sure that China did not continue to violate the country’s sovereignty.
“We will try to amicably resolve the issue through talks. If that does not happen, we would like other countries to take up the issue with China. If Beijing still does not stop intruding into our waters, we will have to resort to international judicial processes,” they added.
Sources asserted that China would have to withdraw from Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and there was no other choice for it. “Our belief is that the more we are vocal, the earlier they (China) will withdraw. But major countries like India have to exert diplomatic pressure on Beijing,” they added.