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Viet Nam affirms its legal stance over Spratly and Paracel islands

Letter of VietnamUnofficial translation

No. 22/HC-2020

The Permanent Mission of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam to the United Nations presents its compliments to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and, with reference to Note Verbale No. CML/14/2019 dated 12 December 2019 concerning Malaysia’s submission dated 12 December 2019 to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf and Note Verbale No. CML/11/2020 dated 23 March 2020 addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations by the Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations, has the honour to state the consistent position of the Government of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam as follows:

Viet Nam protests China’s claims as contained in the aforementioned Notes Verbales. These claims seriously violate Viet Nam’s sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction in the East Sea (South China Sea).

Xi Jinping calls on Trump to improve US-China relations amid Covid-19 crisis

Xi Jin PIngChinese president Xi Jinping has called on Donald Trump to take “substantive actions” to improve relations between the two countries, as China prepared to shut its borders to foreign arrivals amid fears of infections coming from abroad.

On Friday, Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping held a phone call about the coronavirus outbreak in an attempt to repair strained relations, following weeks of traded barbs over the virus. According to state media, Xi told Trump in a phone call on Friday that US-China relations had reached an “important juncture”.

“Working together brings both sides benefits, fighting hurts both. Cooperation is the only choice,” he said. Xi said he hoped the US would take “substantive actions” to improve US-China relations to develop a relationship that is “without conflict and confrontation” but based on “mutual respect and mutually beneficial cooperation.”

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Past Pandemics Exposed China’s Weaknesses

PandemicWhen the novel coronavirus first emerged in China’s Hubei Province, foreign reactions to the country’s handling of the epidemic swung between extremes. At a press conference held in Beijing in late February, Bruce Aylward, who co-led the World Health Organization’s (WHO) joint mission with China on the disease now known as COVID-19, praised what he described as “probably the most ambitious, and I would say, agile and aggressive disease-containment effort in history.” Pointing to a graph that showed a steep decline in cases, he commented, “If I had COVID-19, I’d want to be treated in China.”

Others have been far more critical. In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece titled “China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia,” Walter Russell Mead, a professor at Bard College, suggested that China’s “less than impressive” management of the crisis would reinforce “a trend for global companies to ‘de-Sinicize’ their supply chains.” The use of the term “sick man of Asia” in the headline caused particular umbrage and provided a pretext for the expulsion of three Wall Street Journal reporters from China. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang condemned the use of “racially discriminatory language,” to which U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded with a defense of the free press.

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Coronavirus: China response will weaken it on world stage

xi-jinping-communist-party-congressSometime in late November the Chinese Communist Party apparat was aware that the ingredients of some sort of an epidemic were brewing in Wuhan. Soon after, it was also clear to them that a new type of coronavirus was on the loose, a threat they might have taken more seriously given the similar Chinese origins of the prior toxic SARS coronavirus and the resources of a Level 4 virology lab nearby.

Yet the government initially hid all that knowledge from its own people in particular and in general from the world at large. Translated into American terms, that disingenuousness ensured that over 10,000 Chinese nationals and foreigners living in China flew every day on direct flights into the United States (Washington and California especially) from late November to the beginning of February, until the Trump travel ban of January 31.

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China’s use of force to take over features in Spratly Islands for monopoly of the South China Sea

ChinaIt was not until 1988 that there was Chinese presence in the Spratly Islands (Itu Aba Island was occupied by the Republic of China in Taiwan). Taking advantage of Vietnam’s difficulties in the late 1980s, China dispatched its navy to take over the features in the Spratly Islands, establishing a foothold in the south of South China Sea in pursuit of its ambition.

In late 1987 and early 1988, Vietnam was at the bottom of a socio-economic crisis with a stagnant economy and an extremely hard life of its people. At that time, the Soviet Union – Vietnam’s biggest backing – was also experiencing a socio-political crisis. Beijing took advantage of this opportunity to take over some features in the Spratly Islands. In early 1988, China illegally occupied the Fiery Cross Reef, Cuarteron Reef, Gaven Reefs, Subi Reef, and Hughes Reef of the Spratly Islands.

Malaysia tougher on the South China Sea

malayOn December 13, 2019, the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) informed that Malaysia has made a submission on the outer limits of its continental shelf under Article 76 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) with respect to the continental shelf boundary beyond 200 nautical miles from the baseline.

This is a submission on the rest of the Malaysian continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles north of the South China Sea. More than 10 years ago, on May 6, 2009, Malaysia and Vietnam submitted a joint report on the expanded continental shelf of the two countries in the South China Sea.

As per the CLCS Rules of Procedure, this submission will be communicated to all United Nations member states, as well as countries that have signed the UNCLOS 1982. Malaysia's request will be put in the agenda of the 53rd session of the CLCS in New York from July 6 to August 21, 2021.

China: serious violation of international law by occupation of Paracel Islands

tải xuống 1On January 17, 1974, taking advantage of the ongoing Vietnam War, China deployed a large naval force to attack and occupy the Paracel Islands. China’s use of force to take control of the Paracel Islands seriously violated not only the UN Charter but also international principles on acquisition of territorial sovereignty.

In order to settle once and for all territorial disputes between countries, after the Berlin Conference of 1885 and the conference of the Institute of International Law in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1888, many scientists as well as countries around the world agreed on the implementation of a new sovereignty acquisition method. It’s the “effective occupation.” This is the legal principle Vietnam relies on to prove and claim sovereignty over Paracel Islands and Spratly Islands.

The Coronavirus Could Cause a Social Recession

tải xuốngEconomic slowdowns are easy to measure, but the lingering damage to communal bonds may be no less harmful.

In early March, as cases of the novel coronavirus were increasing far more quickly than doctors in the United States could detect, the two of us knew we had to change how we and our two small children were living our lives. We canceled birthday parties, medical conferences, restaurant outings, and our children’s classes. We began greeting people without physical contact—not an easy task for two people who are inclined to hug friends and colleagues. We limited time outside our home to essential trips for groceries or work. We joined millions around the world in the unsettling new normal of a physically sequestered life.

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The U.S. should have led the coronavirus response. Instead, China stepped up

Saudi Arabia is hosting the Group of 20 summit in November of this year. But given the current crisis, the Saudis announced recently that it will convene a virtual G-20 leaders’ summit next week “to advance a coordinated response to the covid-19 pandemic and its human and economic implications.”

The virtual summit is clearly needed to mobilize a response to a pandemic that respects no borders. It’s a sign of the times, however, that the United States is nowhere to be found in organizing a more coordinated global response. Historically, the international community would have looked to the United States for leadership, and we would have been out front, establishing standards, best practices for containment, working out common approaches to travel, identifying medical shortfalls, sharing information on vaccine development and trials and developing stimulus packages.

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China Threatens EMP Attack in South China Sea

s-6Chinese state media on Tuesday rather unsubtly decided this would be a good time to chat with a panel of “experts” about the possibility of using an electromagnetic pulse weapon (EMP) against American ships that enter portions of the South China Sea illegally claimed by Beijing.

The timing suggests it was a bit of saber-rattling by a Communist Party nervous about its power and prestige after the Wuhan virus disaster, but some degree of escalation in the South China Sea has long been a concern for the U.S. Navy and ships from across the free world.

To put it bluntly, an EMP strike on U.S. warships would involve detonating a small nuclear warhead above them, but China’s state-run Global Times threw in some speculation about “low-energy laser devices” to keep their saber from rattling too loudly:

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