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What Vietnam needs to do to counter Chinese intrusion in the Vanguard Bank

f4120906-c01b-11e9-8f25-9b5536624008 image hires 031641From July 3, 2019, Chinese survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 entered the Vanguard Bank in Vietnam's EEZ to "conduct a seismic survey". This is the most serious incident by China in the last 5 years since its installation of the Haiyang Shiyou – 981 oil rig in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in 2014. Vietnam is now managing and enforcing its sovereignty over the area by building many rigs in her southern continental shelf.

Laying bare opportunists in Beijing

f4120906-c01b-11e9-8f25-9b5536624008 image hires 031641Taking advantage of the problems facing the United States and its in Iran in the Gulf region and the fact that international opinion is focusing on the developments in the area, China has sent 08 Hai Duong Coast Guard ship to the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of Vietnam (in the Southern part of the South China Sea) to conduct surveys since the beginning of July 2019. Escorting ships are Chinese law enforcement vessels and many militia fishing vessels (ships of the marine militia covered as fishing vessels), including China’s 12,000 tons 3901 Coast Guard ship.

Deploying survey ships to violate Vietnam's waters, once again China threatening peace, stability

7c213e6c-ac2f-11e9-a61f-bc570b50c4e7 image hires 152750Since early July 2019, China has deployed the Haiyang Dizhi 8 geological survey vessel escorted by several Coastal Guard ships and militia fishing boats into the waters close to Vanguard Bank under Vietnam’s control. This action shows that China has grossly violated Vietnam's sovereignty contrary to what they have recently "proposed" to high-ranking Vietnamese leaders; in doing so, China cannot be regarded as a "responsible major power" as has been declared by itself. It’s necessary to clarify the situation with the public inside and outside the country as well as the Chinese side in this connection.

Relations between the Philippines and China have changed?

thediplomat-ace-10-1350x900-386x257At the start of his presidency in 2016, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte quickly initiated the resumption of friendly relations with China, saying that “the friendship and cooperation that have overcome many obstacles between thePhilippines and China would not only bring about prosperity and economic development to both countries, but also create a unique culture nourished by harmony and diversity”. He also urged citizens of the two countries to cultivate the values and ideals that fuel a strong resolve to usher in a period of greater peace and understanding and rise above the challenges ahead.

The Johnson South Reef skirmish: a powerful testimony to patriotism and strong will for protection

hqdefaultLearning from the past: The skirmish of the Johnson South Reef showed a strong will to protect the reef and sovereignty of the nation. This should be nurtured and together with international law will act as the effective weapon for Vietnam to respond to China’s superior strength.

Who is "making trouble" in the South China Sea?

On March 1, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo paid a visit to the Philippines just one day after the DPRK-US Hanoi Summit between President Donald Trump and Korean Leader Kim Jong Un. In the Philippines’ capital of Manila, the US Secretary of State made several statements on the South China Sea and US - Philippine relations which attracted much interest of the public opinion and were immediately protested by China. China accused the US of trying to "make trouble" in the South China Sea. What has happened and is the US "making trouble" in the South China Sea?

China's ambition of "monopolizing control of the South China Sea" and risks of its execution

In Chinese leaders’ eyes, the South China Sea is critical to their strategy of expanding China’s influence and making China a world power. Politically speaking, the South China Sea is where China can deploy its "soft border" doctrine and its "Look South" policy, a "vital" way for China to overcome surrounding countries such as India, Russia, Japan and Republic of Korea to expand its influence in the world, a "gateway" for China to get out of the US containment and restraint to become a world power. In economic terms, the South China Sea is abundant in natural resources which can be exploited to make an important contribution to the rapid economic development of the most populous country in the world that is falling into a serious shortage of natural resources, particularly oil. With one of the world’s busiest maritime and air routes through the South China Sea, so "who controls the South China Sea will control economic development in East Asia”. From the military angle, the South China Sea is the entry into the Asian continent for US and Japanese naval forces, which is the passage for warships from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. The South China Sea is also home to many important islands with strategic and tactical significance at sea to keep traffics and other activities at sea in control. Islands in the area can be developed into military bases which can serve as a starting point to attack enemies as well as a belt at the frontline to defend the mainland from afar. Therefore, with control over the South China Sea, China will expand its defensive space, pushing the battlefield far away from China’s mainland. More military bases in the islands will allow China to monitor and possibly threaten military operations of Southeast Asian countries, including controlling the US military operations. In addition, controlling the South China Sea also helps China to gather strength of millions of Chinese in Southeast Asian countries, strengthening national cohesion, supporting the unification and recovery of Taiwanese territory.

Beware of China’s actions and attempts to invade the South China Sea

The sovereignty dispute over the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea between Vietnam and China has lasted for 45 years, which is one of the longest disputes between claimants over the same islands. This is also a complicated dispute without any legal or political solution so far, somehow more complicated with repeated tensions and settlements followed by growing flares up since the Chinese side attempts to change the status quo by deliberately changing the form of the islands, expanding long-term occupation in more and more waters in order to gain control of the trade flows in the South China Sea. At the same time, China deliberately seeks to take the Paracel Islands as a naval base for protecting its mainland from far away, or as a springboard to attack its neighboring countries.

China's deep intentions in the forced seizure of the Paracels in 1974

Revisiting the battle of 1974 at the Paracel Islands, it could be seen that China’s action had a deep calculation. Although forced seizure does not create a title of sovereignty over Paracel Islands because it is contrary to international law, China still decided to take action to serve its long-term strategy of becoming a regional power.

Indonesia's protection of its legitimate sovereignty in the South China Sea: Solution and action

Since the early 21st century, China has broadened its ambition to control the South China Sea to the entire sea area. They not only made statements and took actions to exercise sovereignty over the seas of the Paracel and Spratly Islands, Scarborough or Luconia Shoals but also claimed overlapping sovereignty and dispatched fishing boats backed and protected by Chinese maritime surveillance, coast guard, and navy vessels to the area of Indonesia's Natuna in the southern South China Sea. This directly impacts Indonesia's national sovereignty and interests, forces the country to take a number of measures and actions on different fields to curb China's ambition.

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