Vietnam’s ambassador to India Pham Sanh Chau urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to raise the issue with President Xi Jinping as India has in the past called for the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to be respected. The two leaders are due to meet in the coming days when Mr Xi visits New Delhi. The presence of Chinese vessels in the hotly contested waters have been the cause of numerous territorial disputes between Beijing and its neighbours over the years.
Hanoi has indicated it would welcome any efforts by the Indians to intervene in the ongoing feud in an effort to bring stability to the wider region.
Mr Chau told ANI News: “We have mentioned that we call on all the countries outside the region to contribute to peace and security in the region and we welcome contribution made by any country in strengthening peace and stability in the region.”
He went on to praise India for playing a “very positive” role in the situation and said he hoped Mr Modi would visit Vietnam next year.
He said ongoing dialogue between the two countries which focuses on security would see relations “flourish”.
Hanoi has repeatedly urged New Delhi to play its part to defuse tensions in the troubled South China Sea.
Tensions between Vietnam and China have gone from bad to worse this year over Chinese shipping vessels constantly passing into Vietnam’s excluding economic zone (EEZ) in the sea.
Twenty-eight Chinese ships have sailed through the zone since the beginning of the years infuriating Hanoi and causing the Vietnamese government to make more than 40 diplomatic representations to Beijing.
Mr Chau said the presence of Chinese boats in waters controlled by Vietnam risked eroding political trust among the two powers.
He said he hoped China would finally “gets that message” once and for all.
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Mr Chau said: “The situation is serious because Chinese vessels are in Vietnamese waters which is defined by international law including UNCLOS (United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea) 1982.
“We have repeatedly told the Chinese side to withdraw all its vessels out of Vietnamese waters in order to respect international law and to strengthen the good and strong relationship between Vietnam and China.
“We have have stressed that such kind of activities would not contribute to peace and security in the region and in the world as it might erode the political and mutual trust between China and Vietnam.”
When questioned on whether Vietnamese representatives would raise the issue at the upcoming ASEAN summit Mr Chau said of course they would.
He said leaders foreign ministers would discuss the topic at the meeting in Thailand because “the crisis is there, it’s not yet solved.”
The biannual gathering of members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) focuses on economic, political, security and socio-cultural issues affecting the nations.
Mr Chau described the relationship between Vietnam and India as “excellent” and “moving very fast”.
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