Just ahead of Xi visit, India-Vietnam deal on China’s mind

  • Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times, Beijing
  • Updated: Sep 17, 2014 12:30 IST

Just ahead of President Xi Jinping's landing in India, China expressed concern over new oil exploration deals signed between New Delhi and Hanoi during President Pranab Mukherjee’s state visit to Vietnam.

China said it will not “agree” with the planned exploration “if the relevant oil exploration plans were not approved by the Chinese side,” the foreign ministry said when asked for a reaction.

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“We have noted President’s (Pranab Mukherjee’s) visit to Vietnam. I would like to point out that China has indisputable sovereignty over Nansha islands (in the South China Sea, which Vietnam calls Paracel islands) and adjacent waters,” Hong Lei, foreign ministry spokesperson said on Tuesday.

“We hold no objection to legitimate and lawful agreement between Vietnam and a third country. But one thing is to be clear. If such agreement involves waters administered by China or if such cooperation project is not approved by the Chinese government, then we will be concerned,” Hong said.

During Mukherjee’s visit to Hanoi, India and Vietnam signed seven pacts including a letter of intent (LoI) between ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) and Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam).


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The LoI is aimed at further consolidating cooperation between India and Vietnam in energy sector.

Hong clarified to Indian media later that this is China’s stand about oil exploration agreements between Vietnam and any third country.

On recent reports of Chinese incursions into Indian territory, Hong said China’s position was consistent, meaning that Chinese have patrolled or worked on their side of the perceived Line of Actual Control and have never crossed over.

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