China has no problems with India playing a greater role in patrolling important sea-lanes like the Malacca Strait to prevent piracy and other crimes at sea but is opposed to a strong US presence in regional waters, Chinese Ambassador Sun Yuxi has said.
... Ambassador Sun indicated that Beijing did not favour the presence of powers from outside the Southeast Asian region, such as the US, in patrolling these waters and protecting the hundreds of ships that use them.
"Now, geographically, you (India) have access to that area. As far as India is concerned, we don't have any problem (with its naval ships patrolling these waters)," Sun said.
He was responding to a question about reports that the US wanted the Indian Navy to maintain a vigil on the Malacca Strait and about Chinese concerns on this issue.
"But if (the) Americans come and put their battleships there, we might worry about it," Sun asserted.
Sun pointed out that patrolling of the Malacca Strait by the Indian Navy would be beneficial in protecting the large number of merchant ships that carry vital cargo like energy supplies to China.
"India is now our strategic partner, and it is true that due to lots of trade, a very big number of cargo ships go through there (Malacca Strait). So, that is something like (the) lifeline of Chinese foreign trade," he pointed out.
"Lots of petroleum tankers pass through there. So we hope our Indian friends can provide very good protection to the straits there. And we can go more smoothly."
Like India, China is dependent on oil imports from the Gulf to meet much of its energy needs.
Friday, October 28, 2005