China warns India on South China Sea exploration projects

Sep 15, 2011. China indicated it was opposed to India engaging in oil and gas exploration projects in the disputed South China Sea, and warned Indian companies against entering into any agreements with Vietnam ahead of External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna’s visit to Hanoi this week.

“Our consistent position is that we are opposed to any country engaging in oil and gas exploration and development activities in waters under China’s jurisdiction,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said, in reply to a question on reports that the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Videsh Limited was considering exploration projects in two blocks that Vietnam claims.

While Ms. Jiang said she was not aware of reports of Indian involvement in any projects, she stressed China enjoyed “indisputable sovereignty” over the South China Sea and its islands.

“We hope foreign countries will not get involved in the dispute,” she said. “For countries outside the region, we hope they will respect and support countries in the region to solve this dispute through bilateral channels.”

Ahead of Mr. Krishna’s visit, India has also stressed its strong support for the “freedom of navigation in international waters, including in the South China Sea”, after the INS Airavat, on a recent goodwill visit to Vietnam, was asked over radio to leave “Chinese waters”.

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