Home / International/ New allies Vietnam, Australia express concern over South China Sea tensions

New allies Vietnam, Australia express concern over South China Sea tensions


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Saturday, 24 August 2019 00:10

Facebook

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison (centre) and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc (right) walk together after a welcoming ceremony in Hanoi, Vietnam – Reuters

 

 

 

Reuters: New allies Vietnam and Australia expressed concern yesterday about China’s activities in the South China Sea, where Vietnamese and Chinese vessels are locked in a tense standoff in Vietnamese-controlled waters.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc discussed the rising tensions with his Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, during the first visit by an Australian Prime Minister to Hanoi since the countries formalised their ‘strategic partnership’ earlier this year.

“We are deeply concerned about the recent complicated developments in the East Sea and agree to cooperate in maintaining peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight,” said Phuc alongside Morrison at a joint press conference, using the Vietnamese name for the South China Sea.

The comments were Phuc’s first on the standoff.

A Chinese vessel, the Haiyang Dizhi 8, continued to survey Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) on Friday under escort from at least seven Chinese vessels, according to data from Marine Traffic, a website that tracks vessel movements.

At least two Vietnamese navy ships, including the Russian-built Quang Trung frigate, have been closely shadowing the Chinese vessels, according to the data.

The US said on Thursday it was deeply concerned about China’s interference in oil and gas activities in waters claimed by Vietnam, and that the deployment of the vessels was “an escalation by Beijing in its efforts to intimidate other claimants out of developing resources in the South China Sea”.

Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the US was “sowing division and had ulterior motives”.

“The aim is to bring chaos to the situation in the South China Sea and damage regional peace and stability. China is resolutely opposed to this,” Geng told a daily news briefing.

Australia Prime Minister Morrison said the principles of international law should be upheld in the region.

“Principles like freedom of navigation, freedom of overflight, to ensure nations can pursue the development opportunities which exist within their EEZ and sea boundaries, and can go about that business in a way which is uninhibited,” said Morrison, who began a three-day visit to Hanoi on Thursday.

In May, two Australian warships docked at Vietnam’s strategic naval base at Cam Ranh Bay as the two navies stepped up cooperation.

Australia on Wednesday announced it would join the US in a security mission to protect merchant vessels traveling through key Middle East waterways after Iran seized a British-flagged vessel.

Bilateral trade rose 19.4% in 2018 to $7.72 billion, according to Vietnamese Government customs data.

Australia is the largest foreign coal supplier to Vietnam, which is increasingly reliant on the fossil fuel for power generation to meet its fast-growing economy.

Coal shipments from Australia to Vietnam more than tripled in the January-July period from a year earlier to 8.51 million tonnes, according to customs data. “Australia and Vietnam are friends and, today, to use Australian parlance, we’ve gone from friends to mates,” Morrison said.

 


Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

State of the economy of Sri Lanka

Saturday, 21 September 2019

I am not an economist nor do I profess to be an economic analyst. The views expressed in this presentation are those of a layman who has always been interested in the economic progress of Sri Lanka.


Premadasa, Père et Fils

Saturday, 21 September 2019

We are what time, circumstances and history has made of us. We are trapped in history. At age 77, I refuse to trap history in my mind. This essay is an obligation to history. Although J.R. Jayewardene introduced ‘Executive Presidentialism’, coer


Economy, business community and the Prime Minister

Friday, 20 September 2019

The speech made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Chief Guest of the Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2019 deserves very careful consideration by the country due to several reasons. This will no doubt be his last speech on economic policy to be


Sri Lanka needs to invest more on soft infrastructure

Friday, 20 September 2019

Developing countries like Sri Lanka will have to prepare for further downside risks in 2020 with the growing debt problems and the growth problems in Europe and the slowdown in Asia. Slower growth is already visible in weakening global trade and comm


Columnists More