China is making a new step in a plot to expand sovereignty in the East Sea with the latest attack on a Vietnamese survey boat, Duong Danh Dy, a research expert specializing in Chinese affairs, said in an interview with Dan Tri.
Dy, who is also a former Vietnamese consul general in Guangzhou, made the statement about one week after Chinese patrol ships illegally entered Vietnam's territorial waters, cutting the cables of the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group's ship. The ship was then engaged in oil exploration.
The latest violation has caused a stir and outraged Vietnamese officials, experts and public alike.
Dy said previously when attacking Vietnamese boats, China rarely revealed their identity. Now, the country is openly clashing with Vietnamese ships in waters under Vietnam's sovereignty.
"China wants to take up the whole East Sea. ["¦] The act is a new and specific step in its territory expansion at the sea."
Under its plot, China considers Vietnam as "the main competitor," because the country is the nearest to it and owns most islands on the Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago, according to Dy.
Meanwhile, other countries are farther from China and some of them have strong military relations with the US, he said.
China is also testing the water by recently sending several officials to visit some ASEAN countries, US, Russia, India, Japan, and South Korea, Dy said.
He also said China's latest move in the East Sea is part of its efforts to distract its public from recent domestic problems like the Inner Mongolia's disorder.
In the interview with the newswire, the former official suspected that Chinese patrol ships are, in fact, warships that weigh thousands of tons, can operate for consecutive months, and are so large that helicopters can land on them.
"The ships are too strong as compared to Vietnamese fishing boats with hundreds of horsepowers," he said.
China once said they need one of such patrol ship for every 10,000 kilometer squares of sea, or 80 ships at the East Sea, Dy was quoted as saying. "Now they have just 50, but they will surely enhance this force."
"We are under more pressures now, but it doesn't mean that we can't struggle against them," Dy said.
He suggested Vietnam make the world know about China's bullying Vietnam in the East Sea. He thinks the international public and Chinese people, who have sense of justice, will support Vietnam when they are made aware of the attacks on everyday fishermen.
Vietnam especially needs to strengthen its solidarity with ASEAN, he stressed.
Meanwhile, the government needs to unify Vietnamese people, making it clear that Vietnam wants to be friends with China, doing business with the country on the condition there is no more violation of Vietnam's sovereignty and territory, according to Dy.