The East Sea

New wave of criticism against China’s behavior in South China Sea becomes Vietnam’s legal advantages

New waveSince China’s deployment Haiyang 08 ship and many escorts to conduct illegal surveys in the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of Vietnam as well as intimidate and hinder the oil and gas cooperation activities of Vietnam for a long time, there have been many suggestions that Vietnam should sue China like the Philippines did in 2013. This article would like to mention another aspect related to the legal struggle: the strong reaction of international community criticizing Chinese behavior will create a great advantage for Vietnam when using legal measures to protect its legal rights and interests in South China Sea.

Chinese military base in Cambodia - Threat to regional peace and stability

Cambodia-China-Navy-Twitter-900x540On July 21, 2019, the US Wall Street Journal reported that Cambodia had signed a tacit consent with China to allow Beijing to use a naval base on Cambodian territory.

The reports that China’s construction of a military base started catching headlines in the second half of 2018. At that time, US Vice President Mike Pence sent a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen, expressing concern that Phnom Penh is planning to continue receiving Chinese weapons in Ream Naval Base near Dara Sakor. In a response letter, Prime Minister Hun Sen has affirmed that Cambodia reject all foreign military presence, as well as "any rivalry that could push Cambodia into a proxy war once more time".

ASEAN and the 27 years of sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea

South China Sea 2016 01 30 18 07 07According to scholars, the sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea have been around since the end of World War II, when the winners and losers sat down together to divide territories and war compensations. Over the time, the disputes escalated during the Cold War and even reached to the point of local armed conflicts in the South China Sea. However, apart from the victim, i.e. the Republic of Vietnam, “whining” for being “bullied”, almost nobody paid attention; even the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the regional organization established in 1967, whose four out of five members except Thailand laid claims to the South China Sea(the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore) , chose “not to say a word.” The main reason was that the region of Southeast Asia at that time was a battlefront between the communist and non-communist forces; for those 5 countries, the top priority was to join the US to deter the “red wave.” Therefore, neither the US nor ASEAN reacted to China’s use of force to occupy the Paracel Islands in 1974 and part of Vietnam's Spratly Islands in 1988. Nonetheless, these Chinese actions also startled the ASEAN-5, especially the Philippines, which sent troops to some features of the archipelago since 1971.

Is Russia on Vietnam’s side in the incident at Vanguard Bank?

vietnam-south-china-sea-vanguard-bank-map-wikimedia-commons-e1565076209217Researchers have questioned whether Russia sides with Vietnam in the Chinese incursions at Vanguard Bank. The question arises as the Putin administration has not publicly spoken about the incident though China's acts in Vietnam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf take place since the beginning of July 2019 threatening the safety of oil and gas cooperation project between Vietnam and Russian Rosneft Company in Block 06-1 in Vietnam’s continental shelf.

China sullies its image and pushes the South China Sea countries toward the US

082986f0-7c68-11e9-8126-9d0e63452fe9 image hires 180704As the most populated country, the second largest economy in the world and one of the P5, China should act responsibly in accordance with its status of a big power. However, by encroaching in the South China Sea, violating Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf, ignoring international laws and disregarding public criticism, the leaders in Beijing are smearing themselves in front of the international community.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982 is regarded as a Constitution for the world’s seas and oceans. China signed and ratified the Convention but has not complied with its obligations. On July 12, 2016, in the Philippines vs. China case, the Arbitral Tribunal Court rejected Beijing’s unreasonable claims over the South China Sea. However, China has completely disregarded the ruling. Thus, the government in Beijing paid no attention to either international law or justice but its ambition to fortify China’s strength, power, and dominance.

What are China’s calculations in its move to snatch Vietnam's Vanguard Bank

tải xuống 1Since 1992, the Chinese for many times have dispatched their survey ships to explore oil and gas along with escorting ships from the naval forces, sea surveillance and coast guards from outposts in Hainan Island and further to the coast of Guangdong province in the north, traveling 500 - 600 nautical miles to Vanguard Bank, a water under Vietnam's sovereignty, to conduct illegal oil and gas exploration activities, infringing upon Vietnam's maritime sovereignty. China has sent the so-called "law enforcement forces at sea" to intimidate, chase, provoke, ram those Vietnamese who are taking maritime economic activities in this water. Just a quick review shows that China has for six times “provoked” Vietnam on Vanguard Bank.

Vietnam’s ‘Soft Diplomacy’ in the South China Sea

The sea breeze found us on a fast boat bound for Ly Son Island, located about 15 nautical miles off Vietnam’s Central Coast. For centuries, the island has served as a base for their fishermen to venture into the dangerous Paracels Archipelago.

On board, marine scientist Dr. Chu Manh Trinh described to me the urgent need for a clarion call to all South China Sea claimants to join forces in tackling environmental offshore degradation and the depletion of natural resources through ecological science and cooperation. [READ MORE]

Cold War in the South China Sea

In February, President Barack Obama hosted a summit for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at Rancho Mirage, California, as part of his effort to rebalance US foreign policy towards the Asia-Pacific.

ASEAN, a group of governments that includes democracies, communist states and absolute monarchs and which was formed “to promote political and economic cooperation and regional stability,” met to discuss important issues such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and North Korea’s nuclear program. [READ MORE]

Fiery Cross Reef: Why China's New South China Sea Airstrip Matters

Although China is not the first state to build an airstrip in the South China Sea, it is the first state to employ island-building technologies to transform a contested maritime feature into a military base that extends the reach of offensive military capabilities. Other countries have worked to project power to contested South China Sea features; with the airstrip on Fiery Cross Reef, China has worked to project power from them.

For context, Beijing’s efforts to militarize Fiery Cross Reef are only a small part of China’s massive and controversial program to create a “Great Wall of Sand” across the South China Sea – in the words of the previous Commander of Pacific Fleet.[READ MORE]

5 questions every presidential candidate should answer: South China Sea edition

China’s seizure of seven islets and reefs in the South China Sea, and its ongoing conversion of these features into military installations, complete with evolving port facilities and a 10,000-foot runway, makes clear that this territorial seizure is of far greater significance than media coverage and administration comments would suggest.

In fact, China’s actions have military, economic, diplomatic and energy components, each of which is of great importance to the United States, its regional allies and partners, and every nation whose seaborne commerce traverses the South China Sea. [READ MORE]