China is taking dangerous steps in the East Sea to scramble for marine territory on one hand, and intimidate Vietnam and the Philippines on the other, a French foreign policy expert has said.

The illegal placement of a Chinese drilling rig in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf reflects a strategic continuation of recent Chinese acts, stated Professor Francois Godement, Director of the Asia and China Programme of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

He warned of the high risk of conflicts escalating in the region due to China’s recent acts, including its ships’ aggressive ramming of Vietnamese coast guard vessels.

It is clear that China has not respected international agreements and is ready to use force to solve territorial disputes, the professor noted.

Praising Vietnam’s restraint against China’s provocations, Godement said that in addition to connecting with more countries, Vietnam should seek legal solutions and try to avoid a military conflict.

He advised that Vietnam should build closer links with major partners such as the US, Japan, India, ASEAN and the EU to increase its diplomatic strength.-VNA