Beijing, Sept 16: Chinese Foreign Ministry today (Sept 17) refused to join issue with India over its assertion to go ahead with oil exploration cooperation with Vietnam in the South China Sea despite Beijing's objections, but an influential official daily said the move constituted "serious political provocation" and should be "resolutely stopped".
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Jiang Yu declined to react to External Affairs Ministry's assertion yesterday that India's cooperation with Hanoi for oil exploration is in accordance with the international law and is set to grow.
Following China's objections to ONGC's oil exploration projects in two Vietnamese blocks in South China Sea, to which Beijing lays claim, India had brushed off China's objections.
Asked her reaction, Jiang said she has already given an elaborate response yesterday and declined to add further to her comments that China has indisputable sovereignty over South China Sea and its islands and Beijing is opposed to any country engaged in oil and gas exploration there.
However, China appears to be seriously exercised over this issue as the state-run Global Times, in a hard hitting editorial, said Vietnam's efforts to rope in foreign companies does not simply concern exploration but also a "serious political provocation".
"Both Vietnam and the companies are clear about this but fake innocence. But as opposition and pressure increases, their venturous action is less likely to succeed," it said.
"As for ONGC (which has been given contract by Vietnam), China should resolutely stop it from pursuing this course of action. Reasoning many used first, but if India is persistent in this, China should try every means possible to stop this cooperation from happening," it said.