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China’s expansionnism protested in France: Press release | Collectif Vietnam

25 January 2016

More than 300 Vietnamese and international friends of Collectif Vietnam gathered on January 23, 2016, in front of the Wall for Peace (Paris 7th) to call the international community to strongly protest against “Chinese expansionnism” in the South China Sea (” East Sea “for Vietnam,” West Philippine Sea” for the Philippines) to protect freedom of air and maritime navigation, as well as to avoid risk of war.

The appeal says that “China, since 1974, has been violating Vietnam’s sovereignty, undermining respect for international law, and threatening the security, peace and freedom of navigation, not only to coastal countries but also to all countries with vessels circulating this route, including France and Europe”.

This gathering is the culmination of protest of 30 Vietnamese associations in France against China’s recent installation of the drilling platform HD-981 and against China’s test flights in the disputed area, respectively in the Gulf of Tonkin and Fiery Cross Reef (Chu Thap). These acts are considered “illegal” by the organizers according to the UN Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS).

To recall, it was the fourth time since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 that the Vietnamese community and their international friends took to the streets of Paris to protest against the provocative actions of the Chinese government with the creation of the city “Tam Sa” in 2007, the violent incident between Vietnam drilling ships and those of China surveillance in 2011, the installation of China’s drilling platform in 2014 and in 2016, test flights and installation of another drilling platform. All of these incidents occurred in areas contested by several countries, especially China, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

About South China Sea: The South China Sea is located in a strategic area in Southeast Asia, bringing together three main archipelagos (Paracels, Spratlys, Pratas), Macclesfield Bank and Scarborough Reef. It is part of the sea routes and the busiest straits in the world. Several territorial conflicts have been observed in these areas. The Philippines has demanded for international justice at the Court of Arbitration in The Hague regarding their maritime disputes with China, challenging the legal basis of the territorial claims of China.

About Collectif Vietnam: Collectif Vietnam is a collective gathering of Vietnamese citizens or Vietnamese origin and Vietnam’s friends of all generations, living, studying and working in France, who support Vietnam.

Press Kit: https://goo.gl/Zm6wfH

Contact: Tuong Nguyen, Associate Editor, SEAS Issues (nhtuong@gmail.com)

Annex 1: Photos (cf. https://goo.gl/nWLkm5)

© Duc Truong, UGVF

© Duc Truong, UGVF

 

 © Duc Truong, UGVF

 © Hoai Tuong Nguyen, Future Institute

 

Annex 2: Videos

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Indonesia sinks 41 foreign boats to warn against poaching

Indonesia sinks 41 foreign boats to warn against poaching

21 May 2015

China Daily /JAKARTA, Indonesia - Indonesian authorities blew up and sank 41 foreign fishing vessels Wednesday as a warning against poaching in the country’s waters.

Indonesia sinks 41 foreign boats to warn against poaching

The Indonesian navy scuttles foreign fishing vessels caught fishing illegally in Indonesian waters near Bitung, North Sulawesi, May 20, 2015 in the is photo taken by Antara Foto. [Photo/Agencies]

 

The vessels from a variety of countries were blown up in several ports across the archipelago, which has some of the world’s richest fishing grounds.

Navy spokesman First Adm. Manahan Simorangkir said 35 vessels were sunk by the navy and six by the coast guard police.

Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said Indonesia has blown up several other boats since the current government took over last year after President Joko Widodo was elected. Part of his platform was to preserve Indonesia’s oceans to ensure future generations will benefit from its rich waters.

The boats, seized from Chinese, Malaysian, Philippine, Thai and Vietnamese fishermen, were blown up on National Awakening Day, which commemorates the first political movement toward Indonesia’s independence.

This article is orginally published in China Daily.

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Toward a freeze of five lighthouses in the South China Sea at ASEAN Regional Forum 2014 | Tuong Nguyen, SEAS Issues

09 August 2014

SEAS Issues/PARIS – According to the state-run China News Service, China’s Navigation Guarantee Center plans to build five lighthouses in the Paracels (including North Reef, Antelope Reef, Drummond Island, South Sand and Pyramid Rock). The plan has been announced as a response to the Triple Action Plan (TAP) of the Philippines and the joint stance of the Foreign ministers of Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam to freeze provocative and destabilizing acts in the South China Sea.


ASEAN Foreign Secretary in January 2014 at Bagan, Myanmar. Photo (C) AFP

The Chinese officials and experts said that “the lighthouse is a symbol of the country’s sovereignty in the islands”, and placing lighthouses will help boost the maritime navigation in the region because these reefs, islets are not on the detailed maps for civilian ships.

Yesterday, August 07, 2014, Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly criticised that the move is illegal under the routine formula: “Vietnam has  indisputable sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos. Therefore, all Chinese activities in the two groups of islands are null and void”.

Today, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi rejects Philippines’s TAP and Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying defends China’s lighthouse plan: “China has long been building and maintaining lighthouses on its “inherent” islands and provides necessary measures relevant to international rules for navigational safety of vessels passing by.”

The US also call for a “freeze” on provocative acts, proposing that “when there are disagreements, the claimant states would decide among themselves what type of specific activities are considered provocative or out-of-bounds, offer to put a voluntary freeze on any such actions if other claimants would commit to do so likewise”.

This recent move in these small islets and reefs in Paracels occupied by force since 1974 by China and continuously claimed by Vietnam, shows Beijing’s ambition to assert its territorial claims in the disputed area. While the US hope that the Code of Conducts (COC) would be a particular topic of conversation at the upcoming ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) on August 10 in Naypyidaw, the Philippines focus on their TAP to “freeze” China’s lighthouse plan.

Tuong Nguyen is a contributor at SEAS Issues and a free commentator on the South China Sea affairs on Global Post and Eurasia Review. The author would like to thank Thuy Linh Le and BDTP Group for the proof reading.

The views expressed are the author’s own.

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In the heart of the Vietnam China standoff at sea – Eunice Yoon | CNBC

14 July 2014

 

Eunice Yoon | CNBC - It’s not often you get a chance to see one of the most dangerous flashpoints in Asia.

We went on a boat to the South China Sea to check out the latest standoff between Vietnam and China.

Hanoi believes that the waters near the Paracel Islands are part of Vietnam’s own economic zone. The Chinese, who control the Paracels, claim the waters. To make their point, in May, Chinese state oil companyCNOOC put an oil rig in the disputed waters, sparking a tense standoff.

The Vietnamese government, which is on a PR offensive against Beijing, organized the trip for a handful of other journalists. We were told it would take about one week and require that we transfer boats.

We cast off from the port city of Da Nang with the Vietnamese coast guard,traveled overnight, and by morning got a glimpse of the conflict. When we got up to the deck, we saw a Chinese warship.

As we drew nearer to the rig we switched boats. Our hosts said a bigger boat would better outrun the numerous Chinese vessels they expected we would face.

After jumping into a dingy, we sped across the open ocean to CSB-8003 – a 1,600 ton vessel – ordered by the Vietnamese authorities to patrol the area near the rig.

There, I met the crew of CSB-8003 led by Captain Hung Nguyen Van.

Every day, Captain Hung and his some 30 crewmen attempt to get their vessel close to the rig – and remind the Chinese that Vietnam still claims these waters. I was told that day the Chinese ships outmanned Vietnam’s 110 to 5 though the odds didn’t seem to deter Captain Hung.

Getty Images

“The rig is clearly inside Vietnam’s waters, Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone, and Vietnam’s continental shelf,” he said.

We headed towards the rig.

The HD-981 oil drilling platform is one football field long, 40 stories high and is said to be worth $1 billion according to CNOOC.

The lookout warned us that eight Chinese ships were headed towards CSB-8003.

We were eight nautical miles – 15 kilometers – from the rig when a Chinese coast guard vessel blocked our path. Another charged towards us.

The Vietnamese coast guard vessel blasted its recorded broadcast in English, Chinese and Vietnamese, warning the Chinese to cease drilling activities and leave the disputed waters. The broadcast had the opposite effect, making the Vietnamese a target.

On the horizon, Chinese reinforcements moved in. We soon found ourselves surrounded and were forced to fall back.

Close call

The next day, we watched a ceremony where the crew salutes Vietnam in front of local reporters who will broadcast the event across the country. Vietnam is facing its worst confrontation with China since the two countries went to war in 1979. Their government wants its people to know that Vietnam is prepared to stand up to China.

Many countries with coastlines along the South China Sea fear that as China gets wealthier and more powerful, the fight will become more unequal. They worry China wants to dominate the sea, its rich fishing, shipping lanes and potential energy resources. So they are all willing players in the endless cat and mouse game at sea.

Minutes later, duty calls and our vessel headed back to the rig.

A Chinese coast guard boat came hurtling towards us. The Vietnamese counted that it was one of nine Chinese ships suddenly on our tail. It was agile and moving fast – ready to collide at any moment. It got about 100 meters behind us before drifting back the further we sped away.

The smaller fishing surveillance ships are particularly vulnerable to ramming and water cannons, I was told.

One of the crew members, Colonel Tran Van Hau, told me that in early June, the Chinese attacked a ship he was on.

“At first, there was only one Chinese ship chasing after us, then there were two more ships on both sides of our boat. One Chinese ship accelerated with very high speed and hit the right side of the back of our boat directly. Then it sped up again and kept ramming our boat leaving four holes,” he explained.

But, to the Chinese, there is no question who the aggressor is at sea.

 

The view from China

Only a short flight from Vietnam, I find people in China have a completely different view of the standoff.

On Hainan Island, Chinese fishing communities thrive. The southern island is a launch pad for seafarers and naval forces heading into the South China Sea.

Veteran maritime scholar Dr. Wu Shicun of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies took me into the archives to show me numerous maps including a collection with U-shaped lines – often referred to as a “nine-dash line” – which Beijing believes outlines China’s territory in the South China Sea.

Dr. Wu said this is why China feels it has the right to place its oil rig close to the Paracels Islands and why they’re so angry Vietnam’s vessels have rammed their ships, they claim, more than one thousand times.

“What China is doing is to react to the ramming activities conducted by the Vietnamese,” he said. “What China is doing is to protect our oil rig.”

Currently the Paracels are in Chinese hands. China gained full control after defeating what was then South Vietnam in a battle in 1974. However, Vietnam, now unified, still claims the islands. And both countries have competing evidence to support their arguments.

Wu said Beijing believes the current standoff is Hanoi’s attempt at a land grab – by seeking sympathy from an international community adjusting to a rising China.

“The fact is that China now is becoming an influential power,” he said. “So China has [its] own interest to safeguard.”

Beijing sounds in

Over in Beijing, one of the government’s top maritime authorities said China feels it’s the victim. In a rare interview, a senior China diplomat on maritime affairs, Yi Xianliang, told us, China has been taken aback by Vietnam.

Beijing blames the U.S. for stirring up trouble at sea with its pivot to Asia – by emboldening neighbors like the Philippines and Vietnam to stand up to China.

Yi says Washington isn’t playing by the rules of an honest broker.

“The U.S. would like to be coach for some countries. [On] the other side, the U.S. would like to be a referee or a judge and sometimes the U.S. [is] like a sportsman or a player. So this gives us some confusion,” Yi said.

The U.S. has called on China to remove the rig and for all countries to withdraw their drops and resolve the tensions diplomatically.

Yi insists China will keep the rig where it is but hopes to negotiate a peaceful settlement.

“Of course, we will not push our Vietnam friends in the corner because this is not China’s style,” Yi said.

(Original version is available at CNBC)

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European scholars reject China’s nine-dash line in East Sea – VOV

08 June 2014

(VOV) - About thirty European scholars attending a recent workshop in Norway refuted China’s groundless claim of the ‘nine-dash line’ or ‘U-shaped line’ in the East Sea, saying it cannot be used for sovereign negotiations.  

Meeting at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) on June 5, delegates examined challenges to maritime security in East Asia, especially mounting tensions in the East and East China Seas that might cause conflicts in the region.

They also underlined the need to build confidence and strengthen maritime security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.

A representative of the Vietnamese Embassy updated the delegates on major developments in the East Sea and Vietnam’s initial steps towards settling the territorial dispute after China illegally stationed its drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 deep inside Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone, and dispatched vessels, including warships, to intimidate and attack Vietnamese law enforcement boats.

The scholars expressed their deep concern about China’s unilateral action against international law in the East Sea, which they said is threatening security and safety of international navigation.

Professor Geoffrey Till from Defence Studies Department at King’s College London said China failed to respect and fully observe the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), that could lead to potential conflicts.

The delegates discussed China’s provocative actions in the East Sea, as well as their impact on security and stability in East Asia which has been the centrepiece of the world public for more than a month.

Professor Stein Tonnesson from the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and other delegates shared the view that China should respect international law.

They called on China and other parties concerned to develop an effective mechanism for controlling potential conflicts in the East Sea and to sit at the negotiating table to handle disputes peacefully.

Support for Vietnam’s legal action

At a recent interview granted to Vietnam Television, European scholars supported Vietnam’s use of legal actions against China in accordance with international law.

Professor Bernard Insel from University of Brussels noted that the position where China is placing its oil rig is clearly inside Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone.

According to the professor, the issue is more complicated when China claims sovereignty in the rig area of Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago that China used force to occupy illegally in 1974.

Professor Eric David from the Free University of Brussels stated that China’s actions are provocative, because it is aware that the waters where the oil rig is standing are part of Vietnamese territory.

Vietnam has the right to say that the Chinese move threatens its sovereignty, as well as global peace and security.

Besides Vietnam, he said the Philippines is also engaged in a similar territorial dispute with China, and the country has decided to bring China to the international arbitration court in the Hague.

Lawyer Eric Van Hooydong, an international legal expert, said if bilateral or multilateral negotiations collapse, Vietnam could sue China in the International Court of Justice or the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg, Germany.

Vietnam should also seek another solution through arbitration mechanism, he suggested.

 

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Vietnam, drilling rig, tensions in East Sea

“If you claim to be scientists, why act in unscientific manner?” – Hoang Tuong | VNA

07 June 2014

(VNA) Countering inaccurate allegations and arguments by a number of Chinese scholars concerning China’s illegal placement of the drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 deep inside Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, researcher Hoang Truong published an article under the above title, highlighting the historical truth.

Vietnam, drilling rig, tensions in East Sea

At the beginning of May, China illegally positioned its rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 in Vietnam’s waters and sent a large number of armed and military ships to defend it. Photo: VNA

Following are excerpts from his article.

Recently, a number of relatively official media outlets in China, such as the Global Times and International Herald, published a series of articles by Ke Xiao Zhai and Lu Jian Ren, who are working at the Guangxi Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, on China’s illegal placement of the drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 deep inside Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.

In the general definition, scientific research means collecting and processing information so as to find out the nature of events, phenomena and processes. But it is regrettable that these “scholars” have messed them up.

To create a “scientific” air, Mr. Ke has fabricated and analysed four mazes. The first is that Vietnam “always naturally wants to attack China”. Don’t you know that the Vietnamese have never invaded China? Have you ever seen Vietnamese troops in Guangxi, which shares mountains and rivers with Vietnam, except for once when they joined the China People’s Liberation Army in Xi Kun Ling?  As for the other side, it is clear to everybody that we, the Vietnamese, always cherish peace and friendship, having experienced bloodshed time and again. It is also clear that we are ready to put the past aside to look to the future. This is a natural characteristic of the Vietnamese towards our northern neighbour.

Mr. Ke fabricates a claim that in 2007, when the demarcation of the land border between Vietnam and China had not been completed, Vietnam worked out its “sea strategy towards 2020” aiming to expand the area of the East Sea, and that this is the cause of the escalation in the conflict between the two countries.

For millennia now, we the Vietnamese have known only too well the legend which has it that Lac Long Quan and his wife Au Co divided their brood into two; 50 of the children followed their father to the sea and the other 50, their mother to the mountains. This shows that our sense for the sea of our nation has been nurtured for millennia, not from 2007, simply because all one side of our country faces the sea and 28 out of Vietnam’s 63 provinces and cities are located along the coast. The strategy mentioned is not the first; such a strategy has existed for a very long time, and did not need to wait for the completion of the demarcation of the land border to come into being.

If Mr. Ke wishes to touch upon the occupation of Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos, I would like to say that in Hoang Sa, Vietnamese have been present for several centuries now while the Chinese are nowhere to be seen there. Even China’s maps for centuries have marked Hainan Island as China’s southernmost border. Only in 1956 did China send troops to occupy the eastern part of Vietnam’s Hoang Sa and in 1974, it occupied the western part. Similarly, Vietnam has been continuously and peacefully present in Truong Sa archipelago for a long time now; only in 1988, 1989 and 1995 did Chinese troops jump in to occupy seven shoals. So the question here is who expanded the presence and occupation?

Moreover, it is China, not Vietnam, who claimed the huge “nine-dot” line that covers almost all the East Sea on the basis of no law; while Vietnam has only drawn up its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf exactly as prescribed by international law, especially the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982, to which China is a signatory. So who expands its area of sovereign right?

Mr. Ke also says that visiting Vietnam last year, Premier Li Keqiang raised the “nice idea” of joint exploitation but Vietnam refused on the grounds that Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf are undisputed. It’s true, Mr. Ke! On its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, Vietnam has been conducting joint exploitation with tens of foreign companies on the basis of exercising Vietnam’s sovereign right. Vietnam has more than once invited Chinese companies, including the China National Offshore Oil Corporation, to join but you have been insisting on “joint exploitation” in the sense that the “nine-dot” line invented by China belongs to China, and now it gives Vietnam a favour by joining the exploitation. Is there any garden in the house left to you by your forefathers? If yes, will you be willing to let your neighbour raise his chickens there at his will with the argument that the garden is not completely yours but an area disputed by the two families? I also heard that your ambassador in the US complained that China placed only one drilling rig while Vietnam had many. When it is not yours, one is illegal but when it is truly mine, even thousands are legal.

The second maze Mr. Ke fabricates is that Vietnam wants to use this to realise “national reconciliation”, sacrificing the Vietnam-China relationship in exchange; and as the situation spills out of control, the power of an anti-Communist and an extremist national force has taken shape. If somebody placed a huge drilling rig in the water belonging to China, as prescribed by international law, how would the Chinese, including those working and residing in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, think and act? The root cause of the situation is China’s wrongful act that violates Vietnam’s sovereignty and sovereign right, not what Mr. Ke imagines; that Vietnam wants to take advantage of this to achieve national reconciliation. In the blood of the Vietnamese, there is nothing like extremist nationalism because we have been invaded by major powers, one after another, which forced us to shed blood to safeguard our country. If we keep hatred in our hearts, with whom can we live then?

The third maze Mr. Ke wishes to drive us down is the slanderous allegation that Vietnam hopes to take advantage of schemes by some countries who want to use Vietnam to “contain” China, availing itself of the chance of the drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 to “cry out, exaggerate and jump”.

Still a developing country after having experienced years of war, Vietnam has only one desire, for peace and stability for national construction. “Containing” major powers is simply not our goal. In history, Vietnam has repeatedly been taken advantage of and suffered from bargaining behind its back and, subsequently, contained. Mr. Ke has taken a wrong turn, and I urge him to please study again the history of 1954, 1972, 1979, 1989 and so on. Having learnt those unpleasant lessons, we have always persisted with the foreign policy of independence and self reliance. We do not join anyone against any other.

Mr. Ke also says we “cry out” by denouncing China at every international forum for support from the international public. Is it true that we should be banned from crying when we are hurt?

Mr. Ke also accuses us of having “exaggerated” right at the beginning of the incident and blamed China for “undermining peace and stability”. Well, I say this to Mr. Ke. It is best for China not to cause any incident, and then Vietnam will have no grounds to exaggerate anything. It is a great pity that the Haiyang Shiyou-981 case is so big and brazen that the principle of considering a major case to be a minor one and a minor one to be nothing can no longer be applied. As for the question of who is undermining peace and stability; the international public is wise enough to make a judgement without needing us to “exaggerate”.

The fourth theory that Mr. Ke suggests is that we are using the lessons of national strength and a united people, which he himself recognises as “valuable experience helping Vietnam to win the two wars of resistance against the French and the Americans,” and applying it to educate and encourage the whole population to determinedly safeguard our interest in the sea and islands. In this, Mr. Ke is quite right, but I want to add some points. First, this is not a lesson drawn from only the two wars, but also from thousands of years of national building and defence. Second, our nation is “blessed” to always fight foreign aggressors who are, materially speaking, many times more powerful than us. If we do not use our people’s strength, unity and wisdom, how can we fight them? And third, our state is of the people, for the people and by the people, so who else should we rely on if not our people?

As for other articles, I shall comment on them in due course.

 

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Filipinos, Vietnamese Protest China in Manila – VOA News

17 May 2014

VOA News – Filipinos and Vietnamese residents in the Philippines have staged a joint protest against China’s incursions into South China Sea territories claimed by their countries.

 

Filipino activists and Vietnamese nationals display placards and chant anti-China slogans as they march outside the Chinese Consulate in Manila's Makati financial district, May 16, 2014.

Filipino activists and Vietnamese nationals display placards and chant anti-China slogans as they march outside the Chinese Consulate in Manila’s Makati financial district, May 16, 2014.

More than 100 protesters picketed the Chinese consulate Friday in the capital, Manila, demanding that China stop oil drilling in waters claimed by Vietnam.

Chinese and Vietnamese ships have been locked in a standoff since China deployed an oil rig last month in a part of the South China Sea that Vietnam claims is within its exclusive economic zone. The two sides have attacked each other with water cannons, raising fears of an armed military clash.

Manila is protesting Chinese land reclamation on a reef that it says is Philippine territory.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden told the Chinese military’s chief of staff, General Fang Fenghui, in Washington Thursday that Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea are dangerous and provocative. Biden told Fang that China must not undermine security and peace.

The dispute has led to anti-Chinese protests in Vietnam, including a riot at a Taiwanese steel plant that killed a Chinese worker and injured 149 other people.

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Joint Statement of Vietnamese Associations in France regarding HD-981

11 May 2014

More than 10 Vietnamese Associations in France released a joint statement recent move of China in the South China Sea. Here is the fulltext of this statement. 

 

1.   Regarding China’s unilateral bringing of oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 (HD-981) into the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Vietnam on May 2nd, 2014, we, the representatives of the Vietnamese associations in France, had a joint meeting on May 8th, 2014. This unilateral act of China: (i) is a flagrant violation of Vietnam’s sovereignty; (ii) threatens regional security in the South China Sea and (iii) violates the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) concerning the peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law.

China flagrantly violates Vietnam’s sovereignty

HD-981, located 120 miles from Vietnam’s coastal line, is entirely within the EEZ of Vietnam. According to the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS 1982), of which China is a member, Vietnam has sovereignty rights and jurisdiction over all exploration and extraction activities in the Vietnam’s EEZ. Also, other countries cannot extract oil in the aforementioned zone without explicit approval of Vietnam. In light of the above, the unilateral act of China is illegal.

China threatens regional security

On May 7th, 2014, China deployed 80 ships, including 7 military ships and 33 coast guard ships, with aerial support, to attack Vietnamese vessels by water cannon. China’s offensive act on Vietnamese vessels conducting responsibilities in conformity with international laws has wounded six Vietnamese fisheries controllers. Such act gravely threatens the security in the South China Sea and in the region.

China disrespects its agreements with ASEAN countries

The aforementioned act of China runs counter to the DOC signed between ASEAN countries and China in 2002. In accordance with the DOC, all parties should not further complicate the disputes and resolve disputes in the South China Sea peacefully and in conformity with international laws.

2.   We call on international community, especially countries which have sovereign claims in the South China Sea, to unite, a strong reaction against the provocation and the expansionism of Chinese administration for a world of peace and sustainable development.

 

Jointly signed by

Union of Vietnamese in France (UGVF), Association of Vietnamese Scientists and Experts (AVSE), Union of Vietnamese Students in France (UEVF), Association of Civil Engineering, Mechanics, and Materials (GCMM), Association of Engineers and Electrical Engineering (AEEE), Group of Bridges and Roads (CDP), Association of Electrical Electronics Engineering (AEEE), Alliance of Vietnamese Students in France (ADEVF), Union of fellow-countrymen of Ha Tinh in France (UANTF), Association of Vietnamese Architect  in France (AAVF), Research Group on the South East Asia Sea in France (BDTP)

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File:Paracel Islands-CIA WFB Map-2.JPG

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Vietnamese scholars planning to send a letter to the UN on 40th year of Paracels battle* – by Tinh Le | SEASF, BDTP

11 January 2014

by Tinh Le - SEASFBDTP - The 19th of January this year marks the fortieth anniversary of the Chinese military intervention on the Paracel archipelago. Since 40 years, China occupied the whole archipelago.

However, following international law, Paracel archipelago is always under the sovereignty of Viet Nam. The Charter of the United Nations prohibits the acquisition of territory by force.

Viet Nam must always remind the world of this obvious breach of international law of China, always affirms its sovereignty on the archipelago, and urges Chinato accept the submission of the Paracel archipelago dispute to the arbitration of the International Court of Justice, the most appropriate organization to resolve territorial disputes between States.

 

File:Paracel Islands-CIA WFB Map-2.JPG

Position of the Battle of the Paracel Islands (C) CIA

That is the content of the letter we send to the United Nations, with the strong belief that a world of peace and justice exists only when each country respects international law.

The letter is written by two civil society activists striving for the justice for Viet Namand other small countries in the disputes on the South China Sea: Southeast-Asia Sea Research Foundation and the BDTP Group.

The letter is reviewed by world’s leading experts on international law, by senior civil activists, with all the seriousness and the highest caution.

Because we would like to bring the voices of Vietnamese and people loving justice around the world to the highest and most competent legal authorities of the world:

  • United Nations General Secretary
  • United Nations Rule of Law Unit
  • United Nations First Committee (Disarmament and International Security)
  • International Court of Justice

Let’s remind the world the flagrant violation of international law whenChinainvaded the Paracel archipelago in 1974. Let’s urgeChinato submit the dispute to the International Court of Justice.

Please join us in signing this letter: http://goo.gl/qagq5R

One voice may be small, but a million will change the world.

 


(*) Tinh Le is member of Southeast-Asia Sea Research Foundation and BDTP Group.  The orginal title submitted by Tinh Le: Press Release: “Letter sent to the United Nations on the 40th anniversary of Chinese military intervention on the Paracel archipelag”

 

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China imposes fishing curbs: New regulations imposed Jan. 1 limit all foreign vessels from fishing in a zone covering two-thirds of the South China Sea.

The Return of China’s Small-Stick Diplomacy in South China Sea – by James R. Holmes | The Diplomat

09 January 2014

by James R. Holmes | The Diplomat. With a new directive China has appointed itself the sheriff over most of the South China Sea. 

Associated Press reporter Christopher Bodeen chooses his words well in a story on China’s latest bid to rule offshore waters. Beijing, he writes, is augmenting its “police powers” in the South China Sea. That’s legalese for enforcing domestic law within certain lines inscribed on the map, or in this case nautical chart.


China imposes fishing curbs: New regulations imposed Jan. 1 limit all foreign vessels from fishing in a zone covering two-thirds of the South China Sea.

China imposes fishing curbs: New regulations imposed Jan. 1 limit all foreign vessels from fishing in a zone covering two-thirds of the South China Sea. Source: The Washington Free Beacon


The Hainan provincial legislature, that is, issued a directive last November requiring foreign fishermen to obtain permission before plying their trade within some two-thirds of the sea. Bill Gertz of the Washington Free Beacon supplies a map depicting the affected zone. It’s worth pointing out that the zone doesn’t span the entirewaterspace within the nine-dashed line, where Beijing asserts “indisputable sovereignty.”

A few quick thoughts as this story develops. One, regional and extraregional observers shouldn’t be too shocked at this turn of events. China’s claims to the South China Sea reach back decades. The map bearing the nine-dashed line, for instance, predates the founding of the People’s Republic of China. It may go back a century. Nor are these idle fancies. Chinese forces pummeled a South Vietnamese flotilla in the Paracels in 1974. Sporadic encounters with neighboring maritime forces — sometime violent, more often not — have continued to this day. (See Shoal, Scarborough.) Only the pace has quickened.

Henry Kissinger notes that custodians and beneficiaries of the status quo find it hard to believe that revolutionaries really want what they say they want. Memo to Manila, Hanoi & Co.: Beijing really wants what it says it wants.

Two, Bodeen’s police-powers terminology is apt. Lawyers define the police power as a twofold thing. It means enforcing order on national territory, in the usual sense of the word police. And it means helping provide for the health, welfare, and morals of the people. The new rules fall into the former category. China is trying to enforce its laws in waters and islands over which it asserts sovereignty, as though the question of sovereignty is a done deal. And it is using non-military assets, not the PLA, to punctuate its message that there are no legitimate challenges to Chinese jurisdiction.

This is what I’ve been calling “small-stick diplomacy” for the past couple of years. China’s small stick — the China Coast Guard and other law-enforcement instruments — outmatches Southeast Asian militaries by most measures. So why not police contested sea areas with inoffensive-seeming vessels while holding the big stick, the PLA, in reserve should things go wrong? If no one pushes back effectively, you create a new normal over time.

Three, in all likelihood Hainan lawmakers’ diktat presages no challenge to freedom of navigation, the stated U.S. interest in the region. Chinese spokesmen take pains to disavow any such challenge. But for them, navigation means navigation and nothing more. Barring foreign fishing vessels from select areas means compelling their home governments to accept Chinese domestic law in waters under dispute. And that’s the goal, isn’t it? In effect Beijing wants foreign shipping, private and publicly owned, to obey the same rules the law of the sea ordains for the 12-nautical-mile territorial sea. That’s the offshore belt where the coastal state’s laws and regulations apply with the same force they do ashore. This adds up to selective access denial. China, that is, will make the rules governing access to seas it deems its own — and others will comply.

But four, the South China Sea is a huge waterspace for any force to police. Bodeen estimates the area covered by the new rules at 1.35 million square miles. That’s five times the land area of Texas. And everything’s big in Texas, as denizens of that state will tell you (over and over again). Readers of these pixels are familiar with J. C. Wylie’s axiom that the man on the scene with a gun — Wylie’s metaphor for armed assets of various types — is the true guarantor of control over a given territory. Does China boast enough seagoing policemen to monitor what’s happening throughout two-thirds of the South China Sea, and shoo away or apprehend those who defy Chinese law? Color me skeptical.

Which means enforcement efforts may be scattershot, PLA assets may have to pick up the slack for law-enforcement services, or both. Deploying military assets to police supposedly sovereign islands and waters would crimp the narrative that China exercises indisputable sovereignty there. So would widespread disobedience.

It’s hard to envision Southeast Asian governments — heck, any government with a stake in the maritime order — accepting what Beijing is pushing. What if China passed a law and no one obeyed? We may see.

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