The South China Sea has become the most discussed and debated topic in the recent past. With China expanding its reach over the South China Sea, with other nations trying to assert power over the said waters too, this war over the water is only increasing. China has now joined hands with Hanoi to bring peace in the South China Sea; an area that Vietnam openly claims as own. After Vietnam and China make peace promises, how will it impact India-Vietnam Relations?
Friction between China and Vietnam had been increasing over the claims over the South China Sea, with Vietnam strengthening ties with the US to better security relations.
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China-Vietnam Join Hands over South China Sea
On Sunday, Beijing and Hanoi made peace promises to calm down the tensions over the South China Sea. China has been asserting power and claim over the majority part of the sea that is rich in gas and oil reserves. This is also a strategically vital area for China’s trade and defence measures. Over the past few years, China has expanded its military bases over the South China Sea, making other claimants like Vietnam stand up and oppose. However, the two nations have now decided to peacefully settle the dispute.
As reported by the South China Morning Post, the Foreign Minister of China stated:
“Both sides should abide by the basic governing principles on resolving maritime issues. Both sides should not apply unilateral measures that would complicate the situation,”
The FM of Vietnam said:
“We are ready to work with China to resolve arising issues, Both sides should abide by the basic governing principles on resolving maritime issues. Both sides should not apply unilateral measures that would complicate the situation,”
South China Sea Claimants
Apart from Vietnam, Brunei, Taiwan and the Philippines are also claimants of the disputed waters. Philippines however, stepped back on the water disputes, sharing a friendly elation with China.
Vietnam had turned to the US to strengthen Vietnam-US security ties over the rising tensions over the South China sea. In fact, a few weeks ago a US aircraft carrier visited Vietnam, the first time ever since the 1975 war. Vietnam also acquired 6 patrol boats and other equipment worth 20 million US dollars, from Washington.
Also Read on EurAsian Times: US Promises Full Support to ASEAN To Confront China on South China Sea Dispute
How will the new turn of events over the South China Sea impact the India-Vietnam Relations?
India-Vietnam share strong bilateral ties, and the relations between the two nations go back to the 2nd century. Mutual Cultural, economic, security and political interests and links have only strengthened the relations between India-Vietnam. The two nations have carried out multiple naval and military exercises too. On one hand, India gave Vietnam the status of the ‘Most Favoured Nation’ in 1975 and considers the nation a founding pillar of India’s ‘Look East’ policy. On the other hand, Vietnam welcomed India to support their peaceful resolution of the disputes over the South China Sea.
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The India-Vietnam ties have continued to remain strong but will the recent developments in the Vietnam-China relations weaken the former ties? Has China extended promises of peace to counter the India-Vietnam relations and further claim control over the South China Sea?