Expert: Vietnam should be cautious of China’s intentions
  • | | June 14, 2011 03:37 PM

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China’s attacks on Vietnamese ships on May 26 and June 9 show the country’s intent to provoke Vietnam, said Major General Le Van Cuong.

Major General Le Van Cuong

Cuong, Former Chief of the Ministry of Public Security’s Strategy Institute, told DTiNews that these are not separate, disconnected events, but are part of a well-prepared plan.

The incident of the cut exploration cables on a Vietnamese vessel named Binh Minh 02 occurred on May 26, before Shangrila Dialogue.

According to Cuong, this was China’s way of testing the reactions of both Vietnam and the rest of the world. He said that at the dialogue, ASEAN countries, as well as others who benefit from economic activities on the East Sea, did not raise strong enough protests over the incident. As a result, he said, China continued its incursions.

On June 9, following the dialogue, another Vietnamese exploration ship, the Viking II, had its cables cut by Chinese vessels.

“China only used civil and patrol ships under state management to enter the Vietnamese territorial waters. If we had responded by sending Naval ships, we would have fallen into their trap,” said the Major General.

That, he noted, would have given China the opportunity to claim to its people and the world that Vietnam’s military had attacked civil ships.

Major General Cuong was cited by Vnexpress as saying that, over the past two weeks Chinese news reports claimed that Vietnamese ships had been trespassing into China’s waters.

“Some people expressed their concern to me that, if Vietnam were to take stronger actions against China, that they might impose economic embargo on Vietnam. This is a possibility, but we should also consider the fact that China also benefits from trade with Vietnam,” said Cuong.

He added that China has broken its commitment not to use their military in an aggressive manner against their neighbours, and also has violated the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

If Vietnam does not take more assertive actions to deal with the issue, this aggressive behaviour could continue, he warned.

He also recommended that Vietnam should make it very clear to all its people, including overseas Vietnamese, as well as to the international community, the nature of these incidents. In this way, he said, the 1.3 billion people living in China could also be informed about the reality of the situation.

One option for Vietnam is to bring the issue to the United Nations for bilateral and multilateral negotiations to settle the disputes, Cuong suggested.

According to the Major General, Vietnam should also install a rocket system for marine protection.

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