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Beijing tells Vietnam to dump India

China leaning on Hanoi to scrap oil exploration pact
Beijing vietnam oilEnlarge
President of China Hu Jintao (2R) holds a bilateral meeting with President of South Africa Jacob Zuma April 13, 2011 in Sanya, Hainan province, China. Leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa will meet on April 14 for the 2011 BRICS Summit. (Pool/AFP/Getty Images)

Beijing is pressuring Hanoi to scrap its oil exploration pact with India to avoid a confrontation over the disputed territories of the South China Sea, the Times of India reports.

Interpreting a resolution to hold "frequent communication and dialogue on maritime issues" as a veiled threat, rather than detente, the paper reads between the lines to find India in a joint statement signed by between Hanoi and Beijing that they will not "allow any hostile force to destroy their relations". 

Other Chinese media were more direct:

A newspaper affiliated to the Communist Party went a step further saying India was risking its own energy security. "Challenging the core interests of a large, rising country for unknown oil at the bottom of the sea will not only lead to a crushing defeat for the Indian oil company, but will also most likely seriously harm India's whole energy security and interrupt its economic development," warned China Energy News, a publication of the People's Daily, the Communist Party mouthpiece. It further stated ominously that Indian companies "must not enter the disputed waters of the South China Sea". 

The warnings follow India's efforts to step up its efforts to emerge as a political and economic force in Asia-Pacific, known collectively as the Look East policy.

As GlobalPost wrote last week, India has long punched below its weight when it comes to international relations. But its new boldness in courting Vietnam and Burma  suggests New Delhi might finally be coming into its own — not in Afghanistan or the Indian Ocean, but in Asia-Pacific.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/beijing-tells-vietnam-dump-india