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January 24, 2022, 11:22 am

A harasser crying “Stop harassing!”

(09:41:35 AM 03/07/2014)
(Tinmoitruong.vn) - In a piece published in Matichon, 23 June 2014, Ambassador Ning Fuikui, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Kingdom of Thailand rightly pointed out that the world recently have shown their deep disappointment with wrongful acts of China such as drilling in the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of another country and deliberately colliding, ramming until sinking the latter’s vessels while operating normally in this area.


A Chinese vessel in Vietnam's water.


These acts not only disregard international law, violate the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), going against bilateral agreements reached by the two countries’senior leaders, but also aggravate the situation in the South China Sea (East Sea) and increase the tension in the region.

However, to find excuses for the action of China, Ambassador Ning did not hesitate to re-write history, fabricate facts and use twisted arguments in order to hide the truth. So what truth is Ambassador Ning trying to cover?

The Paracel Archipelago belongs to Viet Nam, not China

Vietnam has sufficient historical and legal foundations to assert its sovereignty over the Paracel (Hoang Sa in Vietnamese) and Spratly (Truong Sa in Vietnamese) Archipelagoes.

Vietnam was the very first nation to occupy and then continuously and peacefully exercise the two Archipelagoes.

Since at least the 17th century, when these territories were still terra nullius, the Nguyen Lords of Vietnam (1558-1783) had established the Paracel naval fleet to administrate and exploit the Paracel Archipelago.

This fleet was sent every year to the Archipelago to exploit resources, undertaking geographical and geological measurements, conducting salvage operations, constructing landmarks and other utility buildings etc.

China, for its part, expressed no intention to claim sovereignty over the Paracel Archipelago.

In 1898, after ships Bellona and Himeji Maru had sunk in the Paracel and were looted by Chinese fishermen, the Deputy Governor of Guangdong stated that the Paracel Archipelago were terra nullius which did not belong to China and were not administratively attached to any district of Hainan and that no authority was responsible for policing it.

On the other hand, many Chinese documents, such as Haiwai jishi (Records of things overseas), 1696 or Hailu (Records at sea), 1820 acknowledge that this Archipelago belongs to Vietnam.

The Cairo Conference in 1943 and Potsdam Conference in 1945 to which China was a participant declared that the islands in the Pacific that Japan had taken by force  during World War 2 had to be returned and the territories that Japan had to return to China were Manju, Taiwan and Penghu only, not including Paracel and Spratly Archipelagos.

No official document it was written, as Ambassador Ning claimed, that in 1946, China recovered the Paracel from Japan.

In particular, at the San Francisco Conference in 1951, the request that Japan recognize the sovereignty of China over the Paracel Archipelago was rejected by the Conference with 46 votes against.

At this Conference, Head of Vietnamese Delegation, Prime Minister Tran Van Huu affirmed the sovereignty of Vietnam over the Paracel and Spratly, which met with no protest from all the 51 participating countries.

In fact, in 1956 and 1974, China took by force the eastern half and then the western half of Paracel Archipelago from the Republic of Vietnam.

This act violated the prohibition of use of force against the territorial integrity of another State, a peremptory norm of international law.

This aggression, along with other wrongful acts of China since the beginning has met with strong protests from Vietnam.

The fact that Ambassador Ning cited a number of documents from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam before 1974 to argue that Vietnam recognized the sovereignty of China over this Archipelago is a twisted argument.

According to the Geneva Accords of 1954, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was assigned to administrate the Northern half of Vietnam from the 17th parallel, which did not include the Paracel Archipelago. China must be well aware of this matter.   

China is violating the sovereign rights and jurisdiction of Vietnam

Although Ambassador Ning had misled public opinion on the question of sovereignty, he failed to cover another truth. That is, by all means, the oil rig is located in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.

I would like to invite Ambassador Ning to read the basic documents of the law of the sea to see that both the so-called “17-nautical-mile-water” of Triton Island and the “baseline of the Paracel Archipelago” claimed by China are against the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982.

Therefore, China has violated the former’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction by unilaterally drilling in an area located about 60-80 nautical miles deep inside Viet Nam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. Viet Nam has consistently and vehemently protested against all encroachments into its waters.

As Ambassador Ning rightly pointed out, China has, on a number of occasions, intruded into this area to conduct surveys. In response to such intrusions, Vietnam has sent law enforcement vessels to the area to give warnings and to chase away the Chinese vessels conducting illegal activities therein and has, at the same time, sent Notes Verbales to China to protest. All are still on the record.

Ambassador Ning also feel free to make accusations without evidences. While stated that Vietnam has sent “frogmen” into this area and Vietnamese ships have rammed Chinese ships for a total of 1,416 times, Ambassador Ning and the government of China could not provide any evidence to support these wrongful statements. In the opposite, video clips provided by Viet Nam and reports from international journalists presenting at the scene have told a completely different story.

It is China who has used a large number of vessels of different types, including military ships with ready-to-deploy weapons (at times reaching up about 140 ones), to escort the oil rig. Chinese ships have deliberately rammed and fired water cannon at Vietnamese vessels, causing injuries to dozens of officers, damaging many vessels of Vietnam‘s civilian law enforcement agencies, and even going as far as sinking a Vietnamese fishing boat.

It is ridiculous that Ambassador Ning cited “large numbers of obstacles, including fishing nets and floating objects” in the waters to accuse Vietnam. They were nothing but pieces broken away from Vietnamese ships after being violently hit by Chinese vessels which are another set of evidences of the brutality of Chinese vessels.

All the evidences of China’s violent and aggressive behaviours are publicly available for anyone who want to check them out. Thai friends could also ask news agencies having offices in Thailand who have sent reporters to the scene to have more information.

Fueled from anger towards the above-mentioned behaviours of China, Vietnamese people to had spontaneous protest demonstrations in some provinces of Vietnam to express their patriotism.

Some people made use of the  Vietnamese people’s patriotism to do some provoking and illegal acts, which caused unfortunate adverse effects towards a few of Chinese workers and foreign investors in Vietnam.

Vietnamese government immediately took resolute measures such as arresting the offenders, reinforcing security and compenstating affected enterprises. To date, the situation has been stabalised and affected enterprises has resumed their usual production. All the efforts of the Vietnamese government have received appraisals from foreign investors.

However, Ambassador Ning has unfailingly blamed on Vietnamese government and delibrately frabricated the fact.

Instead of rushing into blaming Vietnamese government, it is wondered that Ambassador Ning should have asked himself what the Chinese government had doen for Japanese investors who were also affected by the anti-Japan riots in China two years ago.

China is ignoring goodwill of Vietnam to settle the current situation through dialogue and other peaceful means

Since the beginning of the operation of Hayang Shiyou 981, Vietnam has made utmost efforts to communicate and conduct dialogue with China to demand China to immediately stop all violations of Vietnam’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction, and to substantially negotiate to resolve the issues at sea between the two countries.

Vietnam has conducted more than 30 diplomatic communications with relevant Chinese authorities. The latest was the invitation of State Councillor of China, H. E. Yang Jiechi, to Hanoi by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Vietnam, H. E. Pham Binh Minh to exchange on this matter. But China has, up to date, consistently refused to withdraw the oil rig and to start faithful negotiations to stabilize the situation.

Agreeing to the idiom about keeping promises quoted by Ambassador Ning, I strongly urge the Chinese government to honour the promise made by Mr. Deng Xiaoping, the then Deputy Prime Minister of China to Mr. Le Duan, First Secretary of Communist Party of Viet Nam in 1975 to resolve the disagreement between Vietnam and China over the Paracel through friendly negotiations, as well as honouring all other relevant bilateral agreements between the two countries.

Vietnam has actively supported the respect of international law, peace, stability and development in both the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea

Vietnam has proven to be a strong supporter of international law, peace, stability and development in the Gulf of Thailand and the East Sea by its concrete deeds.

In 1997, Vietnam and Thailand successfully signed the maritime boundary delimitation agreement with Thailand in the Gulf of Thailand, the first maritime boundary agreement in Southeast Asia after the entry into force of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the first maritime boundary agreement in the Gulf of Thailand. Vietnamese and Thai governments also undertook concrete cooperative activities in the insurance of maritime security and protection of marine living resources in this area as well as carried out join patrols.

Besides, Vietnam has successfully signed maritime boundary delimitation agreements with many other countries in the Gulf of Thailand and the East Sea including with China in the Gulf of Tonkin in 2000, which was the first maritime boundary agreement ever signed by China.

Vietnam has also been undertaking many important bilateral and multilateral cooperative initiatives in the East Sea in different sectors such as marine scientific research, management and conservation of natural resources, exploration and exploitation of mineral resources (such as the negotiations between Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia for joint development in the Gulf of Thailand). In particular, just before the unilateral drilling of China, Vietnam and China agreed to set up a group to discuss joint development at sea.  

Continuing this policy of supporting international law, peace, stability and development in the region, Viet Nam will resolutely use all peaceful means allowed by international law to protect its legitimate rights and interests.

Vietnam hopes that governments and people from all around the world, including the government and people of Thailand will continue to shoulder the people of Vietnam in these goodwill efforts.

Since Ambassador Ning seems to have a particular sense for quotations. I would like to end this note by quoting an ancient Chinese proverb: “look inside you before blaming others”.

Ambassador Ning should look into China’s own behaviors to see why the country has been criticized by public opinion instead of groundlessly blaming others for that.

Tran Van

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