China, Vietnam agree to keep South China Sea tensions in check


An aerial view of uninhabited island of Spratlys in the disputed South China Sea, April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

China and Vietnam will manage and properly control their maritime disputes, avoiding actions to complicate or widen them, so as to maintain peace in the South China Sea, the two nations said in a joint communique China released on Monday.

Vietnam is the Southeast Asian country most openly at odds with China over the waterway since the Philippines pulled back from confrontation under President Rodrigo Duterte.

After what China said were “positive” talks on the South China Sea last week between President Xi Jinping and Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang, the joint statement stressed the need to control differences.

Both countries agreed to “manage and properly control maritime disputes, not take any actions to complicate the situation or expand the dispute, and maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea”, it added.

The document, released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said both had a “candid and deep” exchange of views on maritime issues, and agreed to use an existing border talks mechanism to look for a lasting resolution.

China claims 90 percent of the potentially energy-rich South China Sea. Besides Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Taiwan lay claim to parts of the route, through which about $5 trillion of trade passes each year.

Last year, tension between Beijing and Hanoi rose after Taiwan and U.S. officials said China had placed surface-to-air missiles on Woody Island, part of the Paracels archipelago it controls.

Vietnam called China’s actions a serious infringement of its sovereignty over the Paracels.

In 2014, tension between the two communist countries peaked more dramatically when China moved an oil rig into disputed waters and protests broke out across Vietnam.

Relations have gradually improved since, with exchanges of high-level visits, though the regional military buildup continues, including China’s construction of airstrips on man-made islands in the busy waterway.

Quang arrived in Beijing last week for a state visit and to attend a two-day conference ending Monday on an ambitious scheme proposed by Xi to build a new Silk Road connecting China to Asia, Europe and beyond, through massive infrastructure investment.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Source: Reuters “China, Vietnam agree to keep South China Sea tensions in check”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

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3 Comments on “China, Vietnam agree to keep South China Sea tensions in check”

  1. Joseph says:

    It is a truly sad news for Reuters. It means that whatever the fake news they had their overpaid writers (not reporters) invented would be useless. And now they have to gloomily begin to write brand new tirades and fake news about China’s OBOR successes and Vietnam participation in the OBOR. In the writers’ limited brain capacities we can expect those new fake news and tirades will be dull and repetitive for months to come. Very unimaginative.

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  2. Steve says:

    Vietnam should consider themselves lucky…When China moved it’s oil rig into disputed waters in 2014, whether it was a ploy by China or not, if Vietnam had bombarded or caused severe damage to China’s billion dollar oil rig, Vietnam would have given cause for China to militarily take back it’s lost islands. Up north, China can easily cut off parts of the Mekong river that Vietnam need for its agriculture and farming, down south the Vietnamese navy is at the mercy of China’s PLAN.

    I don’t see Vietnam’s Karma as a nation getting any reward other than retributions for decades, if the Vietnamese government(s) continue to antagonise China. Vietnam’s best and only hope is to be a trustworthy friendly neighbour with China.

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  3. Fre Okin says:

    Vietnam is the most untrustworthy and dangerous disputant in the South China Sea. Here you have Vietnam occupying half of the Spratlys and the West give her a pass and intentionally focus only on Chinese islands. Besides defending against US surprise attack, China have to build the artificial islands to protect against Vietnamese surprise attack as she had done to the Philippines before to take away Pugad island.

    Vietnam is lucky China do not attempt to grab the Spratlys from her. On the Paracel side, China is merely defending against US illegal intrusive FONOPs and spying on Hainan and also managing fishery stock to avoid depletion by reckless Vietnamese fishing.

    For now, it looks like Vietnam have come to her senses and focus on economic development and not over react to Chinese security interest and fishery management.

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