China upset with India ambition in S China Sea

Beijing: Beijing appears to be upset with the oil and gas exploration deal struck by India and Vietnam in the resource-rich South China Sea with a leading state-run newspaper warning that it was a "reckless attempt to confront China."

"Just one day after signing an agreement on ground rules to resolve maritime disputes in Beijing, Hanoi reached an agreement with New Delhi for joint exploration. It is hard to tell if this shows a double-dealing mentality from Hanoi," Global Times said in a stinging editorial on the just- concluded Indo-Vietnamese pact on oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea.

"Both countries clearly know what this means for China," the newspaper commented on the agreement signed during Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang`s visit to New Delhi.

The pact between the Indian and Vietnamese state-owned oil companies includes new investments and the exploration and supply of oil and gas to the two countries.

Irked by the Indian exploration projects on Vietnamese blocks in South China Sea, Chinese authorities have raised objections claiming that it was in their area. "By inking pacts with Vietnam, India probably has deeper considerations in its regional strategy than simply getting barrels of oil and gas. There is strong political motivation behind the exploration projects," the newspaper said.

"India is willing to fish in the troubled waters of the South China Sea so as to accumulate bargaining chips on other issues with China," it said. "China may consider taking actions to show its stance and prevent more reckless attempts in confronting China in the area," the state-run newspaper said. "China should denounce this agreement as illegal," it added.

"Even in respect of its own interests, India is just poking its nose where it does not belong. Indian society is unprepared for a fierce conflict with China on the South China Sea issue," it added.

The Chinese claim on the South China Sea has been rejected by both India and Vietnam, saying as per the UN the blocks belong to Vietnam. India has also made it clear that its state-owned firm would continue to explore in the resource-rich South China Sea.

The newspaper said China must take practical and firm actions to make these projects fall through.

Once India and Vietnam initiate their exploration, China can send non-military forces to disturb their work, and cause dispute or friction to halt the two countries` exploration, the editorial noted.

In other words, China should let them know that economic profits via such cooperation can hardly match the risk. To upgrade the current dispute into a serious conflict will represent risks for every country involved.

China obviously does not want to see that happen. By preventing the India-Vietnam exploration, China clearly exposes the risks and lets every country involved share them.

If China takes no action, the nation will bear them alone, the editorial said. "Some countries are taking risks in the South China Sea, and they believe China will step back to avoid conflict. As a result, China faces increasing provocations in the region," the newspaper said.

The paper noted that the effect of China`s diplomatic protest is dwindling. In a bid to cool down the compulsion to take risks in this region, China has to dish out one or two patient and firm retaliatory measures.

Hanoi often hesitates on whether to confront with China on the South China Sea. It appears tough on China. But in fact, it has complicated national goals, just as China does. Territorial claims are just one of these.

Chinese society can not tolerate such repetitive provocations in the South China Sea. A rising China inevitably needs to have some degree of tolerance, and it is risky to take tough actions against provocations. However, an even greater risk is to let the Chinese public bear the grievances that only strategists can bear, the paper said.