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.

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.

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.

The modern creation of China's 'historic rights' claim in the South China Sea

There are several layers of disputes in the South China Sea: disputes over the ownership of islands, disputes over rights in the waters between the islands, disputes over the regional balance of power and disputes about the future of global governance. What makes them difficult to resolve is that many details of the rival claims remain obscure.

How China manipulates information

China has a long history of ideological struggles and use of propaganda tools. In current context, these skills are used globally to promote Chinese interests, particularly in the South China Sea.

In August, 2018, the Center for Analysis, Planning and Strategy of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (CAPS) and the Institute for Strategic Research of the French Ministry of the Armed Forces (IRSEM) publicized their report on “Information Manipulation: A great challenge in today’s world”. The report says, in order to promote its image, China uses intervention tools and exerts influence with special effects. Propaganda and ideological dissemination are fundamental responsibilities and rights of the Chinese Communist Party. China owns a wide network of information control to promote its interests at international fora. Its propaganda aims at: i) supporting domestic politics through information censorship and manipulation; ii) influencing international opinion and waging the “information warfare” in favor of Chinese ambitions.

The Battle of Gac Ma: Courage to defend national maritime sovereignty

kho-vu-khi-khong-lo-tren-chien-ham-my-ap-sat-da-chu-thap-hinh-2Thirty years have elapsed since the Battle of Gac Ma and the region has dramatically changed. From a country with no territory in the Spratly, now China has occupied and fortified various outposts for military and civilian purposes in the area. The growing Chinese might has cemented its ambition for complete dominance and hegemony in the South China Sea (Viet Nam's East Sea or Bien Dong). Yet, the Vietnamese people and army would ever stand in unity, never lose their determination and cherish the spirit of the naval soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the homeland's maritime sovereignty in the battle of Gac Ma.

The Continuous U-Shaped Line Does Not Have Legal Status

9-dash-line-274x300SCSC - Hong Kong media recently reported a China’s maritime research project proposing “a new boundary line” in the South China Sea, which can help the study of natural science” while “adding weight to China’s claims over the sea area. The proposed boundary is a continuous line coinciding exactly with the current U-shaped line that encircles a vast area rich in natural resources in the South China Sea, over which China lays its claims.

Maritime delimitation between Indonesia and the Philippines and the South China Sea dispute

On the occasion of the House of Representatives of Indonesia on April 27, 2017 ratifying the Maritime Agreement between Indonesia-Philippines - a historical agreement signed in 2014, would like to introduce the article “Indonesia-Philippines Agreement: Lessons for South China Sea Claimants” written by Ambassador Arif Havas Oegroseno, Deputy Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs and Resources of Indonesia.

China’s aggressive activities in the Johnson South Reef violate Vietnam’s sovereignty

SCSC - Spratly archipelago of Vietnam has an important strategic location in the world’s busiest maritime route in the South China Sea, which is considered the “pharynx” connecting the Pacific Ocean with the Indian Ocean.

International strategists say anyone who controls the Spratly can dominate the South China Sea. That’s why, Beijing authorities have attempted and sought ways to occupy the islands.

China’s militarization of the South China Sea is a regional threat

SCSC - On December 21, 2016, US scholar Mark Valencia, currently adjunct senior scholar at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies in Haikou, Hainan, China wrote an article titled “China is not the only one 'militarising' the South China Sea” on the South China Morning Post, providing a biased and untruthful reflection of reality in the South China Sea.

Mark Valencia used criticism from US experts and press of China’s militarization in the South China Sea (after the Center for Strategy and International Studies (CSIS) of the US released an image of Beijing locating air defense and anti-missile systems in artificial islands that China constructed in the Spratly) to write pretext for his article.

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