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China confronted India warship off Vietnam: report
by Staff Writers
Hanoi (AFP) Sept 1, 2011

Oil higher in Asia on Chinese, Australian data
Singapore (AFP) Sept 1, 2011 - Oil prices rose in Asia Thursday on positive Chinese and Australian data, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in October, advanced 25 cents to $89.06 per barrel in the afternoon.

Brent North Sea crude for October delivery gained 15 cents to $115.00.

Data earlier Thursday showed China's official Purchasing Managers' Index jumped to 50.9 in August from 50.7 the previous month, which was the lowest in more than two years. Anything above 50 suggests expansion while a figure below indicates contraction.

Those figures came as Australia released figures showing retail sales rose a better than expected 0.5 percent in July from the previous month. The rise followed a 0.1 percent month on month fall in June.

Ker Chung Yang, commodity analyst for Phillip Futures in Singapore, said the data provided some support to oil prices.

The PMI data from China, the world's largest energy consumer, "suggests that factory activity is stabilising despite the tight monetary conditions at home and listless demand abroad," he added.

"This would be some of the good news that is boosting the oil prices."

A Chinese warship confronted an Indian naval vessel in waters off Vietnam and demanded its identity, the Financial Times said on Thursday, amid regional concern over Beijing's maritime assertiveness.

The London-based newspaper reported that five people familiar with the incident said it occurred in international waters shortly after India's amphibious assault ship INS Airavat completed a scheduled port call in Vietnam.

Delhi confirmed contact was made with its ship, but rejected the suggestion of a "confrontation".

On July 22 after sailing 45 nautical miles off Nha Trang, the INS Airavat was called on an open radio channel by someone identifying himself as the "Chinese Navy", the Indian government said in a statement.

"You are entering Chinese waters," the radio caller said, according to the statement. It added that no ship or aircraft was visible from the Indian vessel, which proceeded as scheduled.

"India supports freedom of navigation in international waters, including in the South China Sea, and the right of passage in accordance with accepted principles of international law. These principles should be respected by all," Delhi said.

A series of Chinese actions in the South China Sea have caused nervousness among regional neighbours -- particularly Vietnam and the Philippines.

China says it has sovereignty over essentially all of the South China Sea, a key global trading route, where its professed ownership of the potentially oil-rich Spratly archipelago overlaps with claims by Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia.

Vietnam and China have a separate long-standing dispute over the more northerly Paracels archipelago.

The INS Airavat visited Nha Trang in south-central Vietnam and the northern port of Haiphong in the second half of July.

Vietnam's foreign ministry said it had no information about the incident, while China's foreign ministry spokesman said he had queried the defence ministry but had not yet received a response.

A source familiar with the incident told AFP it was "a typical Chinese approach", adding that Beijing's enforcement vessels try to assert "that this is their territory and what are you doing in their territory?".

In recent months, the Philippines and Vietnam have objected to what they said was Chinese harassment of oil exploration vessels and fishermen in the South China Sea.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in July condemned acts of "intimidation" in the waters, where it says it has a national interest in free navigation.

A Pentagon report on Wednesday last week said China is increasingly focused on naval power, as it places a growing priority on securing strategic shipping lanes and mineral-rich areas in the South China Sea.

Chinese leaders have insisted their military modernisation programme is aimed solely at "self-defence".


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Philippines, China commit to dialogue in sea dispute
Beijing (AFP) Sept 1, 2011 - China and the Philippines said Thursday they were committed to "peaceful dialogue" to address their disputes over an oil-rich area of the South China Sea.

President Hu Jintao and his Philippine counterpart Benigno Aquino issued a joint statement on the third day of Aquino's state visit to Beijing stressing their commitment to dialogue.

"Both leaders exchanged views on the maritime disputes and agreed not to let the maritime disputes affect the broader picture of friendship and cooperation between the two countries," the statement said.

"The two leaders reiterated their commitment to addressing the disputes through peaceful dialogue, to maintain continued regional peace, security, stability and an environment conducive to economic progress."

Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also claim parts of the South China Sea, which is reputedly rich in mineral resources and straddles vital sea lanes.

On Wednesday, Aquino said his country was "open for business" during a visit on which a massive Philippine delegation wooed Chinese investors in tourism, agriculture and infrastructure.

The two leaders signed nine agreements, including a five-year economic plan that targets $60 billion in two-way trade in 2016, a six-fold rise from 2010, and at least $1.5 billion in two-way direct investment by 2016.

Hu said Wednesday Aquino's visit would "elevate the strategic and cooperative relationship" between China and the Philippines.

A commentary published by the official Xinhua news agency said relations between the two countries should be underpinned by strong trade ties and "proper settlement of the maritime disputes in the South China Sea."

China has scoured the world in recent years for all kinds of natural resources to fuel its fast-developing economy and provide the raw materials for its booming manufacturing sector.

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The Middle Kingdom meets the Middle East
Beirut, Lebanon (UPI) Aug 31, 2011
China's effort to secure energy resources in the Middle East is going into overdrive as its dependence on the region's oil increases. But the Chinese are concerned that their efforts to capitalize on waning U.S. power in the region and six months of unremitting political turmoil could be undermined by the hostility between Iran and Saudi Arabia, mortal enemies and two of China's biggest ... read more

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