Professor Edward Miller of the US’s Dartmouth College has noted that the international community is backing Vietnam in the ongoing East Sea row.

“In the area of international public opinion, I think, the sentiment is more favourable to Vietnam,” Miller, a specialist in American Foreign Relations and modern Vietnam, told Vietnam News Agency correspondents in New York.

Many people look at China actions, not just in the East Sea, but in their dealings with their conflicts with Japan over islands territory in the East China Sea, he said. China is increasingly being seen as “pursuing a pattern of expansion in maritime areas,” he added.

“This is something that makes people very suspicious about China in the international community and I think that could be an advantage for Vietnam as it seeks to mobilise the support for its response to the crisis,” he stated.

According to Miller, China’s illegal placement of its Haiyang Shiyou-981 rig in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf is “an attempt to take advantage of superiority it has in the military ground in the East Sea.”

“I do not believe that this move is an economic move because it is not very likely that there is any oil in this particular part of the seabed. It is a much more political move. So it is an attempt by China to demonstrate its ability to change the status quo in the East Sea.”

According to the professor, many countries have an interest in the East Sea because of the trade and communications.

The US also has interests there and is in support of freedom of navigation and access. As such, US leaders are seriously concerned about China’s recent actions in the East Sea.

“It is to Vietnam’s advantage to try to internationalise this conflict,” in order to “increase pressures on China in the sphere of international opinion,” he said.

Miller warned of China’s future strategy, suggesting “Vietnam need to plan ahead.”

He also advised that Vietnam needs to take necessary legal steps to solve disputes.-VNA