(TibetanReview.net, Sep01, 2016) – President Tran Dai Quang of Vietnam has warned, without naming China while on a state visit to Singapore on Aug 30, that there would be no winners in any armed conflict sparked by territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Quang, speaking to diplomats, academics and students at a forum organised by the ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute, said that recent developments there were threatening regional security, reported the AFP Aug 30.
Quang was clearly referring to China which has reclaimed reefs and built airstrips capable of hosting military equipment, asserting sovereignty over more than 90 percent of the maritime territory, sparking anger from competing claimants led by Vietnam and the Philippines. Beijing not only rejected but severely attacked a Jul 12 ruling by the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague which said China had no historical or legal rights to the South China Sea to the extent claimed by it. The petition was filed by the Philippines but boycotted by China.
Quang has said, “The South China Sea, located at the heart of Southeast Asia, not only brings about many important benefits to nations in the region but it is also a vital route to maritime and air transport of the world.”
However, he has added, “Recent worrying developments” there “have had a negative impact on the security environment of the region, especially maritime security and safety, freedom of navigation and overflight”.
And he has warned, “Should we allow instability to take place, especially in the case of armed conflicts, there will be neither winners or losers but rather all will lose.”
Besides Philippines and Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, and Taiwan have competing claims in the sea. The Philippines and Taiwan have security arrangements with the USA which has been asserting maritime freedom over The South China Sea.