The Philippines and Vietnam are determined to oppose China's infringement of their territorial waters. Earlier this week, Philippines President Benigno Aquino, who sounded the alarm earlier this year as to China's aggression to its smaller neighbors, hosted Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, for talks in Manila.
Emerging from the discussions, prime minister Dung confirmed that he and the Philippines president shared "deep concerns over the current extremely dangerous situation caused by China's many actions that violate international law."
Last November, China created a unilateral Air Defense Identification Zone over the East China Sea, which escalated tensions with Japan. The United States does not recognize the zone. With regards the South China Sea, China has laid claim to almost 90 percent of the resource rich sea, and its claim, which is not supported by International law, encroaches upon the 200-mile exclusive economic zones allocated to nations like the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Indonesia. On May 1, China moved a deep sea oil drilling rig onto the waters of Vietnam. Vietnam protested. The rig has remained protected by a flotilla of Chinese ships. Anti-China protests across Vietnam killed and injured many Chinese and damaged many businesses. China dispatched five ships to remove its workers from Vietnam. Yet, the rig remains, drilling for oil off Vietnam's coast.
The Philippines has initiated International litigation against China for intrusions onto Philippine territory. Vietnam has now signaled that it could join the international suit with the Philippines against China.
Previously, such condemnations of China by Vietnam were unimaginable. And Vietnam's close cooperation with the Philippines, now underscores the concerns these countries have to China's aggression on the East and South China Seas, in light of inaction and non condemnation of China's actions by other ASEAN nations. As the Vietnamese prime minister, a communist like his old friends in Beijing, puts it; Chinese actions have "severely threatened peace, stability, maritime security and safety, and freedom of navigation" on the seas of Asia. The Philippines and Vietnam have now signaled to China that they will fight back.