21.9.11

Careful navigation on this one, there's enough to go around.

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China reiterates its objection to India's role in South China Sea exploration

By Times of India.

India will be infringing on "China's sovereignty and national interest" if ONGC Videsh goes ahead with its plans to explore oil and gas in the South China Sea, the Chinese foreign ministry reiterated on Monday. The Indian company has worked out plans to explore the sea area along with Vietnamese oil companies.

The statement comes after the Indian government indicated it has taken into consideration the position of China and Vietnam before allowing ONGC Videsh to enter into business contract with Vietnamese firms. China and Vietnam are locked in a dispute over ownership of islands in South China Sea, which has huge reserves of oil and gas. Even Japan, Philippines and Indonesia are involved in disputes over sea island ownership with China.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said any move by countries outside the South China Sea region will "complicate and magnify the dispute" that Beijing has with the Vietnamese government. China's "indisputable sovereignty" over the concerned islands is based on full historical and jurisprudential evidence going back to the Han dynasty.

Any country wishing to explore for oil should closely study China's position and obtain its permission before venturing to do so, he said.