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China steps up moves in South China Sea (2)

(Global Times)

08:30, July 05, 2012

Liu Feng (刘锋)

Liu: There are already protests in Vietnam against China on these issues, but this does not change the fact that China holds sovereignty over the Xisha and Nansha Islands. And Chinese companies' activities are exactly based upon this fact. The major Chinese exploration and development of oil and gas resources happen in the northern part of the South China Sea.

The offshore blocks offered by CNOOC for bidding are located in the southern central part of the South China Sea, where other countries has been encroaching upon Chinese oil and gas resources for many years.

CNOOC's announcement marks a major step that China is taking to protect and develop its resources. Protection and development of resources there can also help boost economic development in Hainan Province.

It is likely that Vietnam will continue take actions to consolidate their illegally gained benefits. China should ready contingency plan to cope with Vietnam's possible provocations.

GT: US Senator Joe Lieberman has criticized China for offering the nine offshore blocks up for bidding. How do you see the role the US plays in the dispute?

Beckman: I don't believe that the US has very much influence over Vietnam. Vietnam is acting in what it believes are its national interests. The US is simply taking advantage of the suspicions and fears in the region.

Liu: Although US officials have repeatedly said Washington does not take any position on the dispute, the US obviously favors China's neighboring countries. The tensions in the South China Sea serve the demands of the US "back to Asia" strategy.

Since the Taiwan question is now no longer a good card for the US to play, Washington wants to use disputes in the South China Sea to put pressure on China. The US seeks to benefit from confrontations between China and its neighbors.

The existence of tensions in the South China Sea can also help create conditions for the US to sell arms to countries involved.

But Washington knows that it can't go too far in its involvement, which could lead to strong Chinese countermeasures that will finally hurt US interests.

【1】 【2】


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