Maritime meddling

(China Daily)
Updated: 2011-06-15 07:53
Large Medium Small

Contrary to China's wishes, the South China Sea issue continues to evolve in a direction that will benefit none of the parties' interests in the end.

AFP reported on Monday that Philippine President Benigno Aquino's office is renaming the South China Sea, the "West Philippine Sea". The absurdity of this is obvious: A change in name will not solve the disputes once and for all, let alone be accepted by others.

Related readings:
Maritime meddling Vietnam-China sea spat escalation
Maritime meddling Vietnam urged to stop sovereignty violation
Maritime meddling China: Resolve South China Sea issue through talks
Maritime meddling China opposes playing up South China Sea issue

Meanwhile, Vietnam has shown no hesitation in jumping on the bandwagon and has escalated tension over the dispute. Aside from allowing protesters to stage demonstrations in front of the Chinese embassy in Hanoi, the country staged military exercises on Monday.

Although described by Hanoi as routine annual training conducted inside the area it claims as its 200-nautical-mile economic zone, the timing of the show of its military muscle inevitably raised the temperature in the South China Sea.

Thanks to the joint efforts of leaders on both sides, the relationship between Beijing and Hanoi has enjoyed rapid and full-scale development in recent years. China is Vietnam's second largest trade partner and its biggest source of exports. Hanoi hopes bilateral trade will reach $30 billion this year.

Recent tensions over the South China Sea have already chilled bilateral ties and hampered political mutual trust between the two governments. If Hanoi does not show signs of restraint, it will eventually adversely affect the robust bilateral trade ties.

External forces could have prompted these two Asian countries to stir up trouble over the South China Sea. They may count on the backing of another country as a major bargaining chip.

Indeed, the current tension could not have arisen without the involvement of countries not directly concerned.

As Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said, only those countries with territorial claims in the South China Sea should get involved in the discussions. Countries without territorial claims should refrain from becoming involved and respect the efforts of the concerned parties to try and resolve the issue through negotiations.

It should be made clear that the recent rifts have not been instigated by China.

Some countries have tried to undermine China's sovereignty and maritime rights by making irresponsible remarks which are aimed only at aggravating the issue.

(China Daily 06/15/2011 page8)