China tries to pacify Vietnam over the South China Sea dispute

China tries to pacify Vietnam over the South China Sea dispute

As it faces an international lawsuit over the South China Sea maritime dispute, China has tried to pacify Vietnam, another claimant of the contested waters, with an assurance to settle it through dialogue and substantial cooperation in various fields.

China's visiting top political adviser Yu Zhengsheng assured Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in Hanoi that all their disputes would be settled amicably via talks, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

"The maritime issue is highly complicated and sensitive, which requires negotiations to manage and control differences," said Yu, a forth ranking leader of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

"Magaphone diplomacy can only trigger volatility of public opinion, which should be avoided by both sides," Yu, who is in Hanoi on a three-day official visit said yesterday.
His visit comes in the backdrop of a lawsuit filed by the Philippines in the International Court under the UN Convention on Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) questioning Chinese claims over Scarborough Shoal that China calls the Huangyan islands.

The deadline of December 15 given by the tribunal for China to file a counter has passed as it refused to join the arbitration saying that the dispute should be resolved by the concerned parties.

Vietnam's foreign ministry earlier asserted Hanoi's sovereignty over the Spratly and Paracel islands which China calls Nansha and Xisha islands in the South China Sea.

On December 12, Vietnam objected to China's stance of the nine-dash line claiming all most all of South China Sea to the Arbitral Tribunal on the South China Sea formed to hear the Philippines' petition.

The nine-dash line takes in about 90 per cent of the 3.5 million square kilometre of South China Sea on Chinese maps.

This boundary was first officially published on a map by China's Nationalist government in 1947 and has been included in subsequent maps issued under Communist rule.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hong Lei immediately responded stating Hanoi's claims are "illegal and invalid" and "China will never accept such claim".

Besides Vietnam and Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also question China's claims over the South China Sea which in recent years has become a bitter dispute.

In his talks with Dung, Yu proposed both countries to enhance political trust and build consensus, strengthen guidance in public opinion, and promote substantial cooperation in various areas.

"We are ready to beef up coordination with Vietnam, enhance personnel training and media swaps, to lay solid public opinion foundation for the development of China-Vietnam ties," Yu said.

Nguyen Tan Dung, for his part, said Vietnam expects joint efforts with China to properly settle maritime disputes in a candid and friendly spirit, and especially promote substantial progress in their negotiations regarding the maritime demarcation of the bay mouth of Beibu Gulf in the South China Sea where the two sides this year had a major showdown over China's plans to drill oil.

He agreed to treat China in an honest and candid manner, and further facilitate bilateral cooperation in such fields as economy, culture, education and youth exchanges, the Xinhua report said.

The deployment of oil rig in May this year by China resulted in anti-China riots in Vietnam leading to attacks on hundreds of Chinese factories.

Two Chinese were killed and over 100 injured. The riots made China to pull out over 7000 of its workers. Their navies also wrestled with each other.

Vietnam pressed a host of small boats to ram into the rig. Chinese navy prevented the ram-in boats by deploying a large fleet of ships.

Yu, who is also the Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), met General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong of the Communist Party of Vietnam and Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang and called for steps to enhance relations between the two ruling communist parties.

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