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Beijing: ASEAN not for South China Sea disputes
May 13, 2014, 8:41 am

Over the course of the past week Vietnam has dispatched dozens of vessels to the disputed Xisha Islands after a Chinese oil rig moved into the area to begin drilling there [Xinhua]

Over the course of the past week Vietnam has dispatched dozens of vessels to the disputed Xisha Islands after a Chinese oil rig moved into the area to begin drilling there [Xinhua]


Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying rebuked Vietnam on Monday for bringing its South China Sea dispute with Beijing to the 24th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.

“The facts are clear that Vietnam’s attempt to rope in others to put pressure on China will not achieve its goal,” Hua said.

“The Chinese side is always opposed to one or two countries’ attempts to use the South China Sea issue to harm the overall friendship and cooperation between China and ASEAN,” she said.

Foreign ministers of the ASEAN had earlier called on China and Vietnam to peacefully end their war of words over an area in the South China Sea they each claim as their own.

Over the course of the past week Vietnam has dispatched dozens of vessels to the disputed Xisha Islands (known to the Vietnamese as Hoàng Sa Archipelago) after a Chinese oil rig moved into the area to begin drilling there.

Chinese media reports claimed that the vessels rammed Chinese boats a number of times.

Yi Xianliang, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs in the Foreign Ministry, said at the time that “China is deeply surprised and shocked” at the recent developments.

“Vietnamese vessels are colliding intentionally with Chinese vessels carrying out normal operations, trying to disturb and stop the drilling work by Chinese,” Yi said in Beijing.

He said that the drilling operations were centered at 17 nautical miles (some 31 kilometers) from China’s Zhongjian Island, which he says are within Beijing’s territorial waters.

On Monday, the Hanoi-based Tuoi Tre newspaper said that Vietnamese and Chinese vessels fired water cannons at each other in the South China Sea. There has been no reaction from Beijing to this report.

A statement issued by the ASEAN foreign ministers said that China and Vietnam must abide by the provisions of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

They also urged self-restraint and for both countries to refrain from further escalating tensions.

The statement went on to highlight that ASEAN would follow the declaration on the Code of Parties in South China Sea, and reiterated that need to steadily move towards the conclusion of a COC [Code of Conduct in the South China Sea] on the basis of consensus.

The statement also said that the foreign ministers urged for the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).

The DOC states:

The Parties concerned undertake to resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force, through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned, in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

It also calls for the adoption of a code of conduct in the South China Sea which would further promote peace and stability in the region.

China and ASEAN concluded the DOC in 2002 and have been pushing for efforts to start talks on a Code of Conduct.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, on the other hand, blames China for the latest maritime impasse and has sought support from fellow ASEAN members.

Source: Agencies

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