Conflict in the East Sea Dominates Recent ASEAN Summit
HANOI – Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Chief Foreign Minister, Pham Binh Minh, has revealed that one of the key topics at the recent 24th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit was the issue of the recent events between Vietnam and China over the East Sea (referred to as the South China Sea by China).
While tensions between the two countries have been simmering for some time over the disputed territory, the recent move by China to place a large US$1 billion oil rig in waters that Vietnam claims as its own has only served to ratchet up tension in the region. The oil rig is located in what has been described as the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of Vietnam.
In a draft speech for the Summit, Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Nguyen Tan Dung stated that “China has brazenly moved its deep-water drilling rig escorted by over 80 armed and military vessels and many airplanes to the Vietnamese waters.”
Vietnam and China have a history of military conflict – over the past 40 years the two countries have engaged in one land conflict and two naval conflicts with each other.