China snapped at India on Monday for its remark on the increasingly tense situation developing between China, Vietnam and Philippines in the South China Sea, saying New Delhi need not worry about it.
Beijing’s sharp reaction comes after New Delhi over the weekend said it was worried about the recent developments in the South China Sea where last week Chinese ships are said to have rammed into Vietnamese vessels. The incident occurred after Vietnam protested over the drilling operation of a Chinese state company-owned oil rig.
The ministry of external affairs had said it was concerned about the "recent developments" in the South China Sea.
The Indian statement added: "We would like to see resolution of the issue through peaceful means in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law."
India said freedom of navigation in the South China Sea should not be impeded, adding that “cooperation in ensuring security of sea-lanes and strengthening of maritime security.”
The Chinese reaction to the Indian statement was short but sharp.
“I have so many times stated China’s position on South China Sea. I wish to tell Indian people that they may not worry too much about the current situation in South China Sea,” Hua Chunying, foreign ministry spokesperson said at a regular briefing on Monday.
“As per implementation of the Declaration of Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), peace and stability in the South China Sea, China and ASEAN has important consensus and confident to uphold peace and stability in this region. We hope relevant parties will work with same direction towards China and make relentless efforts to this end,” Hua said.
Tensions flared in the region last week after the Philippines arrested 11 Chinese fishermen for fishing in disputed waters, which China claims as it own. Almost simultaneously, Chinese and Vietnamese ships got involved in the stand-off in the same region.
China is locked into dispute with several countries in the region over the ownership of clusters of islands.
The United States has called China's deployment of the rig "provocative and unhelpful" to security in the region.
On Friday, the foreign ministry blamed Washington for fanning tensions in the region by encouraging countries to engage in dangerous behavior.