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Updated: September 17, 2011 15:30 IST

South China Sea project a "serious political provocation," Chinese paper warns India

Ananth Krishnan
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An influential Communist Party-run newspaper on Friday called on the Chinese government to use “every means possible” to stop the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Videsh from going ahead with exploration projects in the South China Sea, warning India that any deal with Vietnam would amount to a “serious political provocation” that would “push China to the limit.”

“China should resolutely stop [ONGC] from pursuing this course of action,” said the Global Times, a widely-read popular tabloid known for its nationalist views, in a lead editorial. “Reasoning may be used first, but if India is persistent in this, China should try every means possible to stop this cooperation from happening.”

Even as Chinese officials on Friday sought to play down the row with India over projects in the South China Sea, the Communist Party-run paper hit out at the Indian government for testing “China's will”, saying that although China was “sincere” about its peaceful rise, “it will not give up the right to use other means to protect its interest.”

On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry officials had said they were opposed to any project in the disputed South China Sea, without directly referring to India. Officials said they would not comment on the matter on Friday.

The Global Times editorial described the deal between ONGC and Vietnam as reflecting India's rising ambitions, and a likely Indian move to “counter China's behaviour in the Indian Ocean,”

“Chinese society has already been indignant about India's intervention in the Dalai [Lama] problem,” the editorial said. “India should bear in mind that its actions in the South China Sea will push China to the limit.”

“China cherishes the Sino-Indian friendship, but this does not mean China values it above all else.”

A lead editorial in the Global Times, a Party-run paper, cannot be published without the approval of the Communist Party's Propaganda Department. The paper is, however, known to represent the views of more hard-line voices within the party.

The editorial reflected a popular sentiment among nationalist voices in the Communist Party, who have been increasingly calling for China to take a more assertive position in its diplomacy.

“We should not leave the world with the impression that China is only focused on economic development, nor should we pursue the reputation of being a “peaceful power,” which would cost us dearly,” the editorial said.

“China has been peaceful for so long that some countries doubt whether it will stick to its stated bottom line. China should remind them of how clear this line really is.” The editorial added that China should, however, “remain calm” and not take “rash actions”.

The Global Times has, in the past, run editorials hitting out at the Indian government. Chinese Foreign Ministry officials have often stressed that the paper, known to represent the views of more nationalist voices in the Party, did not speak for the government, and have privately criticised the paper for causing strains in relations and not taking a more “moderate” line.

For instance, in December, days ahead of Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to New Delhi, which Chinese officials had framed as an opportunity to draw a line over recent differences, the Global Times published an editorial, written by a General of The People's Liberation Army (PLA), calling on China to take a more aggressive line in its foreign policy.

China, the article said, needed to recover territory “looted by neighbours” - if necessary, by force.

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there is Chinese presence in Gwadar naval base in Pakistan (Arabian Sea -ships from this base can reach Mumbai within 2 hours) and the Chinese have heavy military presence in Burma (include a surveillance center to monitor our test sites in Eastern India ) and also in SriLanka where the Chinese have a deal with the them to be allowed to build a naval base in northern SriLanka (Ships here can reach India within one hour)in exchange for the their help in the civil war. I am glad that at least now we have started to counter them by entering into the South China sea though more(military presence) will be needed after developing oil fields.

from:  Karthik Sekar
Posted on: Sep 17, 2011 at 13:56 IST

WOW!!!!! “China has been peaceful for so long that some countries doubt whether it will stick to its stated bottom line. China should remind them of how clear this line really is.” The editorial added that China should, however, “remain calm” and not take “rash actions”.
China invaded Vietnam 1979 with 300,000 troops. killed unarm Vietnamese in 1988, lately robbed Vietnamese fishermen in the Vietnam's territory, and cut the cable of Vietnam's ship.

China was SOOOOOOOO Friendllllllly with Japan at its sea.
WOW! the world should learn and respect China this peaceful matter.

from:  Hien
Posted on: Sep 17, 2011 at 13:39 IST

It cannot be denied that China has made tremendous progress in development and technology, far ahead of India in various fields. Nevertheless, such achievements seems to have gone to China's head, it feels that it now has the right and the might to dictate to other nations how they should or should not behave. At the same time, it reserves for itself the freedon to do as it pleases. India should be ready to call China's bluff and to give it a bloody nose if circumstancesso demand. China is nobody's master nor is India anyone's slave.

from:  Vijay
Posted on: Sep 17, 2011 at 13:17 IST

The Chinese clout have in recent years grown excessively rapid and with that came their intemperate arrogance and an insatiable appetitie for expansion. They have ethnically cleansed Tibet by forcefully usurping that country for what is rightfully not theirs. Their plan to neutralize the purported Indian hegemony in the Indian Ocean is a very serious issue, as far as India is concerned. All along India has been exercising a lot of restrain and tolerance to China's misappropriate ventures since the border incursion of 1962. With their seemingly aggressive posturing towards India , it is no more acceptable for India to stay quiet any longer. During the era of Indira Gandhi most of Asia including the present day mavericks were little kids and afraid to talk so much so that everyone was living in the shadow of our great lady Indira! Now is the time for India to assert its greatness and power by exuding the Indira type confidence and tell the Chinese to buzz off

from:  Menon
Posted on: Sep 17, 2011 at 13:02 IST

Also India had objected strongly against China's for construction of all season Karakorum highway, but China continued it... Why should India stop? Plus India is doing the work which is under Vietnam govt according to the UNCLOS.

from:  Prateek
Posted on: Sep 17, 2011 at 12:56 IST

@ Mary:

I agree, we in India, are secular and free people, Hindu Muslims, Christians all have equal rights, freedom is there in force, media is strong, and if China can venture in Indian ocean to surround us in pearl of strings while citing international maritime laws, why cannot India enter china sea if it is within international law, i think UN should be bought in the picture if China is serious about the protest, take it to international court, and my request to Indian officials reading this: build on militarily and build your infra, we need to watch out for these callous hardliners in china who are crazy about going to war, if they come to war, we should teach them a very hard lesson, who says china is peaceful, they are bully trying to arm-wrestle their power while not using it openly.

what is the arms buildup about when they have peaceful agenda, and about Tibet: it is worst than Kashmir, Kashmir's king signed accession to India, but in Tibet, china just marched the army

from:  Brad
Posted on: Sep 17, 2011 at 12:45 IST

India government should asses our strenght before taking on the mighty China as our establishments are filled and headed with pliable staff, who are not up to the mark!
We should not destroy ourselves like Pakistan government has done on its people by sponsoring terror as a state instrument!

from:  Atis
Posted on: Sep 17, 2011 at 12:40 IST

If Chinese exploration in the Indian ocean is not wrong, then why is Indian exploration in the south China Sea seen as a wrong thing? I

from:  Mary
Posted on: Sep 17, 2011 at 10:34 IST

Dear editor, the graphic of a map of Vietnam is titled "India-China Diplomatic Row" while the entire article talks about a news article printed in a Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece, which in turn is downplayed several times with a cop-out that it represents hard-liners in the CCP. I'm therefore not sure what you are trying to convey in this article. Has China issued a diplomatic demarche to India ? Was this article trying to highlight internal confusions in the CCP ? How does this pertain to India, except for the fact that a perfectly legal cooperation between India and Vietnam has been misconstrued by the CCP mouthpiece ?

from:  Saravanan
Posted on: Sep 17, 2011 at 10:22 IST
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