Int’l opinion condemns China’s escalation of tensions in East Sea

(VNS) — The US State Department on May 8 once again expressed concerns regarding China’s recent actions in the East Sea, blaming the country for the current tension.

Marie Harf, US State vice spokeswoman at the press centre in Washington on May 8. — Photo VNA
Marie Harf, US State vice spokeswoman at the press centre in Washington on May 8. — Photo VNA

China’s deployment of a drilling rig in Vietnam’s waters is a provocative and dangerous act that leads to tensions climbing in the East Sea, Marie Harf, US State vice spokeswoman told reporters at the press centre in Washington on May 8.

She stressed that all sovereign claims must be based on international law.

The same day, the Italy-Vietnam Friendship Organisation slammed China’s unilateral moving of the oil rig as a serious violation of international law, causing tension and threatening security and peace in the region.

The organisation demanded China completely withdraw the rig and all ships from the Hoang Sa (Paracel) area.

Through its its website and its publication Mekong , the organisation will update readers on information relating to the East Sea situation, analysis and historic evidence proving the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Spartly) archipelagos belong to Vietnam.

The media in Germany on May 8 also continued covering the developments in the East Sea.

The Deutsche Welle newspaper quoted Ernest Bauer from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies as saying that China’s unilateral act violates the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and runs counter to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) signed by China and ASEAN countries in 2002.

In the Tagesschau newspaper, Professor Carl Thayer from Australia’s New South Wales University described China’s deployment of the oil rig in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf as a seriously provocative act, as more than 70 vessels, including naval ones, escorted the rig.

Over the past two days, the Indian media has run news stories criticising China’s illegal deployment of a drilling rig and military vessels in Vietnamese waters.

The Economic Times on May 7 described China’s moving of an oil rig near Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago, about 120 nautical miles from the Vietnamese mainland, as a push of “increasingly assertive territorial claims”.

According to the article, China asserts that its territorial claims in the East Sea are based on its ‘inherent’ and ‘indisputable’ historical sovereignty. However, these Chinese claims clearly lack any international legal basis and their actions are tantamount to ignoring international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS-1982).

The claim has earned widespread international criticism and has been a major obstacle to dispute settlement efforts in the region, the paper said.

In the May 8 edition, the paper continued the stories, saying that China’s actions, including ramming their vessels into Vietnamese ships and fending them off with water cannons, raised tensions between the nations to their highest point in years.

The Chinese acts run counter to the spirit of the UNCLOS-1982 and agreements Beijing has with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that call for nations not to unilaterally engage in conduct that escalates disputes.

Meanwhile, the South Asia Analysis Group (ASAG) website ran an article by Dr Subhash Kapila, in which he argued that “China has once again endangered security and stability in the maritime expanse of the East Sea region.”

According to Dr Kapila, China’s moves are part of a calculated strategy and more provocative behaviour and brinkmanship by China in the East Sea can be expected.

Other major newspapers, such The Indian Express and The Times of India ran news stories relating to recent developments in the East Sea, saying that China’s policies towards neighbours have raised the risks of conflict in the waters. — VNA/VNS


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