Vietnam underestimates China's will to protect sovereignty

Source:Global Times Published: 2012-12-9 19:15:24

Recently, Vietnam's state-owned oil and gas company Petrovietnam accused Chinese boats of sabotaging one of its seismic survey ships in the South China Sea, and the Philippines questioned a newly revised maritime regulation enacted by the Hainan provincial authorities. China rejects both accusations.

We firmly support the Chinese side's actions in safeguarding its territorial sovereignty. Compared with other countries, Vietnam is the boldest in exploring for oil in the South China Sea. Through cooperation with oil companies from a third country, Vietnam is constantly seeking to expand offshore oil and gas businesses within the nine-dash line. It may have already forgotten that it has been stealing resources.

China is more determined than ever when it comes to protecting its sovereignty. Vietnam must rein in its behavior, which will only benefit its long-term interest. Taking into consideration the big picture, China may continue to adopt an attitude of restraint.

But it is certain that China won't just stand by when confronted with these moves by Vietnam and the Philippines.

We don't know if the Chinese boats "purposely" cut the seismic cables towed behind the Vietnamese boat. Even if they did, the Chinese would still support this behavior.

China should use these kinds of low intensity actions to increase the risks of Vietnam's oil and gas exploration efforts within the nine-dash line, and spread uncertainty about China's future countermeasures.

Ultimately, Vietnam will find this exploration is only bringing itself trouble.

Vietnam and the Philippines often expect China to step back under the so-called international pressure. However, they have to understand that it is Chinese public opinion that matters the most. Safeguarding China's sovereignty is the universal will of the 1.3 billion Chinese citizens.

China has no intention of engaging in confrontation in the South China Sea. But China is also prepared to deal with "troubles" in this region without letting them affect the nation's overall development.

Vietnam and the Philippines should give up their illusions of offsetting China's advantages with strength. Although the political environment in the South China Sea has become complex due to US interference, the region is definitely a place where political magic tricks can be performed. China will not be at a loss because of a few diplomatic moves in this area.

We still hope to develop normal and even friendly relationships with Vietnam and the Philippines. We can still have exchanges in other fields despite territorial disputes, and don't need to magnify a few problems between us. However, if one side insists on magnifying them, China will not be vexed. It has the patience to face up to such provocations and even challenges. After all, time is on China's side.

The article is an editorial published in the Chinese edition of the Global Times Wednesday.

Posted in: Editorial

blog comments powered by Disqus