NEW DELHI: China has once again warned India against exploring oil in the South China Sea. The warning came a day after China lost ground on the issue at the ASEAN summit that ended in Cambodia on Wednesday. The South China Sea dispute was discussed at the ASEAN summit despite Beijing's best efforts to block a discussion.
India has two blocks in the South China Sea. One block was explored earlier by ONGC Videsh in partnership with a Vietnamese oil company in South China Sea and found dry.
However, the issue was not discussed when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met Chinese Presiden Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Delhi in March.
In march, too, China had warned India to refrain from undertaking oil exploration in the resource-rich Vietnamese blocks in order to ensure "peace and stability" in the area.
Asking New Delhi not to get involved in the "disputes", the top Chinese Foreign Ministry official said the sovereignty of the islands in the region was a major issue and India should not carry out oil exploration till resolution of the vexed issue.
China has been is mapping South China Sea with an aim to step up exploration for oil and gas and to reinforce its territorial claims. Located south of China's coast, South China Sea is connected with narrow straits with Pacific Ocean and covers 3.5 million sq km of the ocean.
China claims the entire South China Sea as its own. However, its claim has been contested by Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan which assert it is part their maritime waters.