ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
VN asks UN for East Sea support
NEW YORK (VNS)— The head of Viet Nam's mission to the United Nations, Ambassador Le Hoai Trung, has asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for help in presenting its argument against China's incursion into its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.
Specifically, Trung wants the UN to circulate two documents clarifying Viet Nam's position on China's placement of an oil rig in Viet Nam's waters in the East Sea.
Ambassador Trung said the documents also clarified Viet Nam's sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago and exposed the fallacies of China's claims.
In the first document, Viet Nam presents legal arguments for its opposition to China's illegal placement of the oil rig, Haiyang Shiyou-981.
The arguments counter all the allegations China puts forward in its notes dated May 22 and June 9 to the UN Secretary General.
Viet Nam hypothesises that China is wilfully and purposefully escalating tensions in the East Sea by illegally positioning its oil rig in Viet Nam's waters.
Viet Nam counters that it is entitled to the rights of a coastal State to the sea area in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
In addition, it says that to enforce the illegal trespass, China has dispatched more than 100 escort vessels, including military ships, into Vietnamese waters ramming and firing water cannons at Viet Nam law-enforcement vessels, sinking one Vietnamese fishing vessel and creating much damage.
Viet Nam says it has spared no efforts to defuse tensions and initiate measures to bring about a peaceful resolution to the territorial dispute through diplomacy and dialogue, but its gestures have been rejected by the Chinese side.
The second document affirms Viet Nam's sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago and exposes China's historical and legal claims of sovereignty over the archipelago (which China calls Xisha) as meritless.
The Viet Nam Ministry of Foreign Affairs identifies the discrepancies between the historical evidence, which it says are inconsistent with China's claims, specifically pinpointing Chinese assertions that are unclear, incorrect or arbitrarily interpreted.
Meanwhile, Viet Nam has provided historical documents showing that it established sovereignty over the archipelago centuries ago, before claims by any other nation.
Viet Nam also provided documentary evidence proving that the archipelago was not delivered to China at international conferences before and/or after the end of World War II, including the Cairo Conference (1943), Potsdam Conference (1945), the San Francisco Peace Conference (1951), and Geneva Conference (1954).
Additionally, the document says that China has used force twice to illegally occupy the Paracel archipelago. Specifically following the withdrawal of French troops in 1956, China occupied a group of islands east of the archipelago, and the action was strongly protested by the then Republic of Viet Nam.
In 1974, China again attacked and illegally seized temporary control of the archipelago from the Republic of Viet Nam. This was the first time China used military force to occupy the entire archipelago.
From the perspective of international law, the use of force to invade territory of a sovereign nation is illegal and cannot be considered the basis for a sovereignty claim. So, Viet Nam's sovereignty over the archipelago has been maintained for centuries and cannot be reversed by an illegal Chinese occupation, militarily enforced.
A memorandum dated May 12, 1988, by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs clearly delineates a fundamental principle of international law. This is that sovereignty over a territory cannot be achieved through invasion. No country in the world recognises China's sovereignty claims over the archipelago.
The second document further clarifies that Viet Nam has also never acquiesced to China's "sovereignty" over the Hoang Sa islands, and that China is purposefully distorting history and misinterpreting late Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Van Dong's 1958 diplomatic note and several other materials published in Viet Nam before 1975, to back up its claims.
In the 1958 diplomatic note, Dong did not mention the sovereignty over the Hoang Sa or Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos.
Viet Nam has asked China to respect the historical truth and seriously negotiate its problems with the Paracel archipelago with Viet Nam.
This is the fourth time Viet Nam has sent a letter to the UN Secretary General, asking for these documents be officially circulated.
Chinese keep bullying
China has maintained the presence of five battleships, 48 coast-guard vessels, 15 cargo boats and four tugboats around its oil rig since early May.
Yesterday as Viet Nam fisheries surveillance ships approached the rig on communications work, Chinese ships raced up to stop them from getting close.
At the same time, 34 Chinese fishing vessels, with the support of two coast-guard ships, continued to drive away Vietnamese fishing boats operating in their traditional fishing grounds in Viet Nam's waters.
Vietnamese ships managed to avoid collisions and operated about 10 nautical miles from the rig, demanding that China withdraw from Viet Nam's exclusive zone and continental shelf.
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