China Sends Ship to Disputed Islands

The move follows claims to sovereignty, warnings to Vietnam and India.

China's territorial claim to the South China Sea includes two disputed island chains.

China has dispatched a specially commissioned ship to the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea "to protect the safety of its fishing crews," ahead of a visit by a top official to Vietnam amid tensions over marine territorial claims.

Agriculture Ministry South Sea District Fisheries Bureau Vessel 306 was launched at a special ceremony in Guangzhou on Tuesday, according to a statement on the ministry website.

The 400-ton vessel left its home port for the island chain, which together with the Spratly Islands have been at the heart of a long-running territorial dispute between Beijing and its neighbors.

The ship would "further strengthen law enforcement efforts of the fisheries in the Paracel Islands, protect the production order of the fisheries and the safety of fishermen, and effectively safeguard China's maritime sovereignty and fisheries interests," bureau deputy secretary Guo Jinfu said.

Top Beijing diplomat and State Councilor Dai Bingguo will visit Vietnam on Monday following weeks of tension, anti-China protests, and attempts at negotiation over the resource-rich region, which is also home to some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

Competing claims

Vietnam, China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have all laid claim to all or part of the disputed territories.

In July, China and its Southeast Asian neighbors signed a set of guidelines on conduct region. However, wider accord on which country owns what in the vast waters claimed by several nations remains elusive.

Vietnam and China have held separate live-fire military exercises in the area after Hanoi accused Chinese ships of ramming one oil survey ship and cutting the exploration cables of another.

Vietnam also said sailors from China's navy had beaten the captain of a Vietnamese fishing boat and confiscated its catch.

The standoff sparked a wave of anti-China protests in Vietnam and warnings from Beijing to Vietnam not to try to involve the United States.

India warned away

Earlier this week, Indian officials said that an Indian naval vessel was confronted by an unidentified vessel saying it was from the Chinese navy in South China Sea waters off Vietnam in July.

Reports said the incident occurred in international waters shortly after India's amphibious assault ship INS Airavat completed a scheduled port call in Vietnam.

The INS Airavat visited Nha Trang in south-central Vietnam and the northern port of Haiphong in the second half of July.

China has underlined its "indisputable sovereignty" over the South China Sea, saying its claims stretch back at least to the 1930s, when official maps from Beijing contained the whole sea as Chinese territory.

China has rejected calls by ASEAN states for arbitration by the U.N.'s International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, an independent judicial body set up by the Convention of the Law of the Sea, the global legislation covering all maritime territorial disputes.

It has also unveiled a map showing a U-shaped dotted line extending from China and enclosing virtually the entire South China Sea while hugging the coastline of Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines.

Reported by Luisetta Mudie.


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Sep 07, 2011 06:32 AM

Learn from the past when CN was mistreated by Japan, even though that incident did not pay off CN sins to its vicious inhumane crimes to its neighbors for thousand years. CN, be civilized.

Sep 02, 2011 10:38 PM

China feel super in region.