China has objected to Vietnam's invitation to India to invest in oil
and natural gas sector in the disputed South China Sea (SCS), saying it is
firmly opposed to infringement of its rights using development of bilateral
ties as an "excuse".
Vietnam's Ambassador to India Ton Sinh Thanh had said that his
country would welcome Indian investments in the South China Sea.
Responding to remarks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said:
"China does not object to the development of normal bilateral relations of
relevant countries in our neighbourhood".
"But China firmly oppose relevant party to use it as an excuse to infringe
upon China's legitimate rights and interests in the SCS and impair regional
peace and stability," Lu said.
China claims almost all of the SCS while Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia,
Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims.
Oil exploration in the SCS is a sensitive issue in the Vietnam-China relations.
There were anti-China riots in Vietnam when China tried to deploy oil rigs in
an areas claimed by Vietnam few years ago.
India has been asserting
that the ONGC's exploration is a
commercial operation and not connected with the dispute.
India, which is ramping
up ties with Vietnam, calls for freedom of navigation in the SCS through which
trillions of dollars of trade happens every year.