|Lucio Blanco Pitlo (Photo: China US Focus)|
Pitlo said China is increasing interventions in legal maritime economic activities of Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia. China is putting pressure on foreign companies to stop them from operating within the so-called nine-dash line and imposes groundless sovereignty in surrounding area, Pitlo said.
He called China’s actions illegal and said other countries will continue their legal activities to challenge Beijing.
Discussing the Chinese survey vessel Hai Yang Shi You 981 crisis, Pitlo said China wants to turn Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) into a disputed area. He said China’s operating ships deep in Vietnam’s EEZ violates the UN Convention of the Law on the Sea and Vietnamese law, and shows that Beijing is ready for further escalation.
But these actions may be counterproductive for China, he said. First, they will make the Vietnamese more determined to protect their waters. Second, China’s activities may make the US increase its support for the ExxonMobil oil group. Third, China’s actions will make ASEAN more determined to prevent China’s discouraging foreign enterprises from doing business with coastal countries in the region, according to Pitlo.
China’s “9-dash line” and “Four Sha” claims will never be accepted by the international community, Pitlo said, adding that as Vietnam’s sovereignty over its waters in the East Sea is clear, it can participate in activities to boost security and economic cooperation with partners like the US, Japan, Australia, and European countries.
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