BEIJING, May 19 -- From disrupting a Chinese company's oil drilling operations to violence against foreign investors that has left two Chinese nationals dead, Vietnam has gone too far in its unfounded nationalism.
With about three thousand Chinese already evacuated from the country, it's time for Vietnam to pause and reflect on its unreasonable hyping of so-called "territorial disputes" and thus instigation of anti-Chinese sentiment.
Vietnam will feel the pinch for its extreme behavior soon. China's foreign ministry has announced that China will suspend some of its plans for bilateral exchanges with Vietnam in response to the deadly violence.
Chinese airlines have begun to cancel Vietnam-bound flights, while major Chinese travel agencies have suspended their Vietnam tour services.
Chinese tourists paid 1.8 million visits to Vietnam last year, making China one of the major tourist sources for Vietnam.
Moreover, with a bilateral trade volume of over 50 billion U.S. dollars in 2013, China is Vietnam's largest trading partner. The violence will definitely make foreign investors, including Chinese, question whether Vietnam is a viable destination for their funds.
The Vietnamese side should take full responsibility for the damaged bilateral relations and the ensuing economic losses, as the Xisha Islands are China's inherent territory and all Vietnam's claims to the contrary are unfounded.
The operations undertaken by China Oilfield Services Limited (COSL) are only 17 nautical miles from Zhongjian Island, completely within China's territorial waters, while they are as far as 130-150 nautical miles (241-278 km) from Vietnam's coastline.
Therefore, COSL's operations are completely within the mandate of China's sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction.
It makes no sense at all for the Vietnamese side to disrupt a Chinese company's legitimate and legal drilling in China's coastal waters.
Chinese operations in this area did not begin this year or this month. Chinese companies have been operating in these waters for a decade. From last May to June, Chinese companies also carried out 3-D seismic work and drilling field investigation. This was necessary preparation for the drilling, which is a continuation of the work that started 10 years ago.
China's resolve to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity in the South China Sea is and will remain unshakable. And it's high time for Vietnam to stop any new outbreak of violence and more importantly, form correct perception and views on territorial issues.