Why does Vietnamese communist chief ignore China’s attack of Vanguard Bank?

Vanguard Bank is located in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone. This is an area assessed to have large oil and gas reserves, which joint venture companies of Vietnam and the Russian Federation are exploiting.

In recent years, China has increased pressure on Vietnam in this area, by continuously sending coast guard ships to pressure Vietnam to stop oil and gas exploration projects in the area.

Notably, in recent days, Chinese coast guard ships entered Vanguard Bank again, but, as always, Vietnam’s state-controlled media remained silent and did not report any news.

Radio Free Asia reported on February 19: “South China Sea: Chinese ships violate Vietnam’s oil and gas blocks in Vanguard Bank.” The news said that on February 18, China sent a coast guard ship into the area of Vietnam’s oil and gas blocks in the waters of Vanguard Bank.

This move comes just a month after China’s coast guard sent its largest ship into the waters surrounding this area.

In recent years, China has continuously sought to hinder Vietnam’s oil and gas exploration and exploitation activities in the South China Sea (East Sea). That has greatly affected Vietnam’s oil and gas exploitation

East Sea researcher Dinh Kim Phuc said that there are no oil and gas exploitation projects in the Vanguard Bank area. All Vietnamese mines that have signed joint venture contracts with foreign countries or have invested in exploitation by foreign countries in recent years, are located in the Nam Con Son basin, or other areas.

Talking about the incident that caused two foreign companies, Repsol and Noble, to withdraw, cancel exploration contracts with the Vietnamese government, and sue for compensation, Dinh Kim Phuc said:

“To protect Vietnam’s oil and gas exploitation blocks, the Vietnamese Government will have to be tougher so that no oil and gas blocks have to be paused because of China’s pressure.”

Still according to Mr. Phuc, if China’s coast guard ships continue to be aggressive, and Vietnam has to temporarily stop its joint venture projects on Vietnam’s continental shelf, it will be a failure, and in the future, it will be difficult for Vietnam to fight with China.

International analysts assess that the latest move above takes place in the context that Vietnam and China have just strengthened their “special” diplomatic relationship, after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Hanoi in early December 2023.

In fact, 2 days before Mr. Xi Jinping’s visit to Hanoi, Chinese coast guard ships also penetrated the sea area around Vanguard Bank.

According to experts studying the South China Sea, China’s purpose is to block Vietnam from expanding the scope of oil and gas exploration and exploitation in the Vanguard Bank area, to force Vietnam to cooperate in joint exploitation with China. That means, Vietnam must acknowledge China’s sovereignty claims over this area. This is a very difficult scenario for Vietnam to accept.

This strategy is also applied to a number of other countries in Southeast Asia, such as the Philippines as an example, and so far, this strategy has proved quite effective.

According to experts, this move by Beijing is intended to antagonize Vietnam, after Hanoi took steps to lean more toward the United States. At the same time, this is also a way for China to encroach and claim more sovereignty right on Vietnam’s continental shelf.

In the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there have been many concerns that Beijing will pressure Russia to abandon cooperation with Vietnam. According to Professor Carlyle Thayer, an Australian researcher of Vietnamese politics, the worst thing is that China successfully forced Russian companies to end cooperation with Vietnam. But what’s worse, Vietnam has no way to force China to step down.

According to observers, the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam may not disclose issues of political fighting at the top to the public. But what happens related to the sovereignty of the East Sea in general, or the sovereignty of Vanguard Bank in particular, the people always have the right to receive official information from the state.

The question that arises is, why and what makes the domestic press to stay silent in the face of developments in the waters of Vanguard Bank under Vietnam’s territorial waters?

But what is more worrying than that, according to journalist Chien Thanh in the article “There are two balancing blows around Vanguard Bank” made the comment that:

“Communist China’s hands have dug in too deep, holding too many ‘trump cards’ forcing Mr. Trong and his faction to look ahead and look back for a long time, before making a final decision.”./.


Tra My – Thoibao.de

Kasse animation 7.8.2023