China’s irrational, perverse ambition in the East Sea

(VOVWORLD) - Chinese geological survey vessel group Haiyang Dizhi 8 has recently violated Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf in the south of the East Sea. The water fully belongs to Vietnam in accordance with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to which both Vietnam and China are members. China’s move seriously violates Vietnam’s sovereign right and jurisdiction right and runs counter to international law.

The geological survey of China’s Haiyang Dizhi 8 vessel in Vietnam’s EEZ violated most of articles regarding the rights and obligations of concerned parties in the International Convention on the Law of the Sea. If the activity aims to survey the oil reserves at the bed of the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf of Vietnam, it violates Vietnam’s sovereign right. If the survey aims to serve science research purposes, whether it is for peaceful purposes or not, it violates Vietnam’s jurisdiction right in its EEZ.

China does not have any legal overlapping sea with Vietnam’s Vanguard Bank (Tu Chinh Reef)

First and foremost, the Vanguard Bank in the DK1 Platform area is located within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone 200 nautical miles from its baseline and is Vietnam’s continental shelf in the south of the East Sea. This is the strategic sea area under the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The area is not disputed with any country and not disputed with China at all.

China’s drawing of the nine-dash line covering 60% of Vietnam’s waters attempting to make Vietnam’s undisputed sea disputed is completely illegal and not recognized by international law. The ruling by the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration three years ago in the dispute brought by the Philippines against China, an international legal guidance of the 1982 UN Convention, flatly rejected China’s nine-dash line claim. Though China did not participate in the tribunal and announced it did not accept the ruling, the legal document retains its value. The ruling states that the nine-dash line is legally groundless and void that China has not basis to claim the right to exploit resources in the nine-dash line. Therefore, China does not have legal sea area in dispute with Vietnam in the DK1 Platform area where the Vanguard Bank is located. The Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that China has no basis to claim historic rights over resources besides the rights stipulated in the Convention in the waters inside the “nine-dash line”.

China’s illegal activities in Vietnam’s Vanguard Bank attempted to prevent Vietnam from exploring and exploiting oil and gas in the rich oil rig. China’s threats and obstruction against Vietnam and foreign partners in exploring and exploiting oil and gas in this area are irrational and perverse. This move is part of China’s strategy on imposing its illegal nine-dash line in the East Sea to deter foreign companies from partnering with Vietnam. These steps are included China’s long-term strategy attempting to monopolize the East Sea and fully control resources in the nine-dash line which accounts for 80% of the East Sea area.

Vietnam persistently, resolutely defends its sovereign right, jurisdiction right in the EEZ

On July 19 Vietnam demanded China to withdraw all vessels from Vietnam’s EEZ. Vietnam contacted the Chinese side for many times via different channels, handed over diplomatic notes to protest the violations and demanded China immediately end violations and withdraw all vessels from Vietnam’s waters, and respect Vietnam’s sovereign right, jurisdiction right for the sake of bilateral ties and stability and peace in the region. This was the second time Vietnam has voiced its stance over the issue. On July 16, the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson said Vietnam has sovereignty, sovereign right and jurisdiction right over the waters in the East Sea under the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to which Vietnam and countries in the East Sea are members. Therefore, activities of foreign countries in Vietnam’s waters must comply with concerned regulations of the 1982 UNCLOS and Vietnamese law.

Vietnam has taken peaceful measures to resolve problems and demanded respect for Vietnam’s sea and its legal rights and interests in its waters and not to take action to complicate the situation. Vietnam’s relevant forces at sea have been implementing Vietnam’s sovereignty, sovereign right and jurisdiction right in a peaceful, legal manner to protect Vietnam’s waters. During the past few days, people in Vietnam and other countries in the region and the wider world have strongly protested China’s illegal acts in Vietnam’s sea and supported Vietnamese law enforcement forces to fulfill their noble and sacred tasks to protect peace, security and stability in the region and the wider world.