On Friday, the Government of Vietnam accused a Chinese oil survey vessel and its escorts of violating is sovereignty and demanded that the Chinese ships leave Vietnamese waters. The South China Sea is of course the area in which China has been most actively building out small islands and turning them into Naval and Air Force bases. This of course will allow China to control the surrounding seas and over 5 trillion dollars a year of goods passing through the region.
Vietnam and China have for many years been in a heated dispute over the energy-rich sea, and global trade passage of the South China Sea. Vietnam has demanded that all unlawful practices be ended immediately. Vietnam has protested via its Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Le This Thursday Hang, making it clear that the Haiyang Dizhi 8, the ship in question, and its escorts conducted activities which violated the East Sea exclusive economic zone.
Our Views: China has embarked on an expansion of influence in the region that challenges Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Japan and Vietnam with its 9 Dash Area of ownership of sea space. Of course, most of these countries challenge it openly. China is being asked to respect the rights of its neighbors but it says that it is now violating any rules in its view. We expect Japan and other nations in the region to challenge China as Japan, China, South Korea and India are all expanding their spheres of influence, and mistakes could happen.