Vietnam wary of China’s moves to claim Spratly Islands

http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/161202.html

Vietnamese province is reconsidering a resolution protesting China’s assertion of sovereignty over the disputed Spratly Islands, the chairman of the council said Wednesday. The Thanh Nien newspaper reported Wednesday that the People’s Council of Khanh Hoa province, which includes the coastal city of Nha Trang, would issue a resolution protesting China’s establishment last month of an official government district to administer the islands. The paper said the resolution would affirm that the islands are part of Khanh Hoa province. But the council’s chairman, Mai Truc, said the council was backing away from the idea. “We initially planned to issue a resolution on the Truong Sa Archipelago,” Truc said, using the Vietnamese name for the Spratlys. “But now, we have to reconsider whether to issue it or not, as it is a sensitive and complicated issue. We have to wait for instructions from the central government.”The Spratlys and the nearby Paracels are claimed by China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan and Malaysia. The waters around the islands are believed to contain substantial petroleum reserves. China last month established a new government district, called Sansha, to administer the islands. Vietnam officially protested the Chinese move, and Vietnamese students have staged apparently spontaneous anti-China protests each of the last two weekends in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. China, in turn, has sharply criticized the Vietnamese protests. The Chinese news agency Xinhua reported today that China had officially asked Vietnam to prevent future demonstrations. Truc said the Khanh Hoa People’s Council would decide whether to issue a resolution during its current session, which lasts through Saturday. “I cannot say anything about the resolution at the moment,” Truc said. “But we all disagree with what China has done about the Truong Sa.”

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