South China Sea: Beijing’s plan to dominate region dealt critical blow as vessel withdraws


XI JINPING was delivered a critical blow to Beijing’s dominance in the South China Sea after one of its vessels finally left the region following a tense standoff.

China and Vietnam have clashed over the presence of an oil survey ship, the Haiyan Dizhi 8, that has been stationed in Vietnamese-controlled waters. The vessel has been stationed there for the last three months but according to maritime shipping data, it has now left.

South China Sea tensions risk flaring into ‘nightmare’ all out war
According to shipping data, the vessel was escorted out of the disputed zone by two other Chinese vessels.

Since the vessel’s arrival in the waters in July, Vietnam has issued a series of warnings to China and just last week, claimed that it was “determined to fight” to protect its territory.

Amid calls from Vietnam to remove the vessel, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, admitted the vessel had finally completed its mission.

Speaking at a daily news briefing this week, she said: “According to our understanding the work is presently complete.”
Due to China’s implementation of its nine-dash line policy, China has laid claim to several territories which are contested with several of its neighbouring nations.

In light of the recent clash with Vietnam, the President and Communist Party chief, Nguyen Phu Trong stated last week that his country would never give up its territory.

Mr Trong said: “We will resolutely and persistently maintain independence while fighting for the protection of our sovereignty, but we must maintain a peaceful environment for development.

“What belongs to our independence and national sovereignty, we will never give up.

South China Sea tensions hit crisis point as Beijing surrounds ship
“We are determined to fight and win.”

Despite those comments, on Monday, China’s defence minister, Wei Fenghe said the South China Sea is an integral part of his country’s history.

He added: “We will not allow even an inch of territory that our ancestors have left to us to be taken away.”

Away from the dispute over the waters, Vietnam also recently pulled the DreamWorks film, Abominable from its cinemas.

The reason behind the decision was due to the inclusion of a scene where there was a map illustrating China’s nine-dash line policy.

Due to China’s growing presence in the region, both the UK and US have sent vessels in order to counter Beijing’s grower power.

As a result of an uptick in US vessels in the area, a Chinese academic has claimed that Beijing must take the offensive against Washington.

Professor Hu Bo, director of the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative, a think tank under Peking University’s Institute of Ocean Research, insisted that China must hit back hard.

He said: “In this game an effective response is to escalate the level of confrontation and raise the stakes.”

In turn, secretary of the US Navy, Ben Spencer stated recently that to counter China’s burgeoning threat, it would take an “all of government” approach to the matter.

Moreover, he insisted that it would take support from the US’ allies to help implement any plan against Beijing.

Speaking at an address at the Brookings Institution, Mr Spencer added: “We have a competitor now that has no differentiation between military and civilian.

“I continually underscore that this is an all-of-government effort that we must do.

“We have to do this together. The US is not going to land there with big boots, big ships and big guns and go ‘follow me’.”