Ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's proposed visit to India, Vietnam on Thursday said the situation in South China Sea is serious and Hanoi will welcome if India plays a role in bringing peace and stability in the region.
Chinese vessels inside EEZ of Vietnam are deployed near India-owned ONGC block in South China Sea. India has always vouched for peace and security in the region and has maintained that freedom of navigation and UNCLOS (United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea) should be respected.
When questioned whether Vietnam will ask India to raise the issue of South China sea with the visiting Chinese President, Vietnamese ambassador to India Pham Sanh Chau told in an exclusive interview, "We have mentioned that we call all the countries inside and outside the region to contribute to peace and security in the region and we welcome contribution made by any country in strengthening peace and stability in region."
The envoy said that India is playing a very positive role and both countries will discuss the South China Sea issue at the upcoming annual security dialogue at Ho Chi Minh City.
"India has been responding very positively to the situation. Indians have interest in peace and stability in region and Indian compes are operating at the moment in the region," Chau said.
"I think the new mechsm of security dialogue will flourish relations between the two countries. The dialogue includes issues of interest of both countries including security in Vietnam and India. I believe we term it as peace and stability in South-East Asia and the world," the envoy said.
Chau said that his country has repeatedly urged Beijing to respect the maritime international law and withdraw its vessels from the region as it could erode political and mutual trust between the two nations.
"Situation is serious because Chinese vessels are still in Vietnamese waters which is defined by international law including UNCLOS (United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea) 1982. We have repeatedly told the Chinese side to withdraw all its vessels out of Vietnamese waters in order to respect international law and to strengthen the good and strong relationship between Vietnam and China," he said.
"We have stressed that such kind of activities would not contribute to peace and security in the region and in the world as it might erode the political and mutual trust between China and Vietnam. We hope that China gets that message," the envoy outlined.
Asked whether the issue would be raised in the forthcoming ASEAN summit, Chau said, "Last July, this issue found its expression in terms of serious incidents in the declaration of ASEAN foreign ministers'. It is the tradition and practice that it is always in the document of ASEAN because the crisis is there, it's not yet solved."
Phau underlined that bilateral ties between India and Vietnam are flourishing and continue to be excellent. He also expressed hope that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Vietnam next year to take part in the East Asia Summit.
"The relationship between India and Vietnam is moving very fast and is always good and continue to be excellent. We hope that Prime Minister Modi will come to Vietnam to participate in the East Asia summit in October 2020," said the ambassador.
( With inputs from ANI )