News / Asia

Vietnam Considering Legal Action Against China

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung addresses delegates at the opening of the two-day World Economic Forum on Asia, May 22, 2014 at the financial district of Makati, east of Manila, Philippines.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung addresses delegates at the opening of the two-day World Economic Forum on Asia, May 22, 2014 at the financial district of Makati, east of Manila, Philippines.
Reuters
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said his government was considering various “defense options” against China, including legal action, following the deployment of a Chinese oil rig to waters in the South China Sea that Hanoi also claims.
 
Dung's comments, given in a written response to questions from Reuters, were the first time he has suggested Vietnam would take legal measures, and drew an angry response from China, which insisted the rig was in its sovereign waters.
 
“Vietnam is considering various defense options, including legal actions in accordance with international law,” Dung said in an e-mail sent late on Wednesday, while on a visit to Manila. He did not elaborate on the other options being considered.
 
“I wish to underscore that Vietnam will resolutely defend its sovereignty and legitimate interests because territorial sovereignty, including sovereignty of its maritime zones and islands, is sacred,” he said.
 
China accused Vietnam of stoking regional tensions.

 
FILE - Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei speaks during a press briefing in Beijing.FILE - Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei speaks during a press briefing in Beijing.
x
FILE - Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei speaks during a press briefing in Beijing.
FILE - Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei speaks during a press briefing in Beijing.
“Now they are distorting the facts, conflating right and wrong on the global stage, blackening China and making unreasonable accusations against China,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular news briefing.
 
“Just who is the one who is repeatedly challenging other countries' sovereignty? Who is the one who is causing tensions in the seas? Who on earth is destroying peace and stability in the South China Sea? Facts speak louder than words.”
 
In March, the Philippines submitted a case to an arbitration tribunal in The Hague, challenging China's claims to the South China Sea. It was the first time Beijing has been subjected to international legal scrutiny over the waters.
 
Beijing has refused to participate in the case and warned Manila that its submission would seriously damage ties.

 
In this photo released by Vietnam Coast Guard, a Chinese ship (L) shoots a water cannon at a Vietnamese vessel (R) while a Chinese Coast Guard ship (C) sails alongside in the South China Sea, off Vietnam's coast, May 7, 2014.In this photo released by Vietnam Coast Guard, a Chinese ship (L) shoots a water cannon at a Vietnamese vessel (R) while a Chinese Coast Guard ship (C) sails alongside in the South China Sea, off Vietnam's coast, May 7, 2014.
x
In this photo released by Vietnam Coast Guard, a Chinese ship (L) shoots a water cannon at a Vietnamese vessel (R) while a Chinese Coast Guard ship (C) sails alongside in the South China Sea, off Vietnam's coast, May 7, 2014.
In this photo released by Vietnam Coast Guard, a Chinese ship (L) shoots a water cannon at a Vietnamese vessel (R) while a Chinese Coast Guard ship (C) sails alongside in the South China Sea, off Vietnam's coast, May 7, 2014.
Anti-Chinese violence flared in Vietnam last week after a $1 billion deepwater rig owned by China's state-run CNOOC oil company was parked 240 km (150 miles) off the coast of Vietnam.
 
Hanoi says the rig is in its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone and on its continental shelf. China has said the rig was operating completely within its waters.
 
The spat is the worst breakdown in ties between the two Communist states since a brief border war in 1979.
 
“My own sense is that if the Vietnamese government start to ratchet up their tactics, the Chinese probably are not going to blink,” said Christopher Johnson, a former senior China analyst at the CIA, now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “So you could have a very difficult situation.”
 
Sharpened rhetoric
 
The rig move was the latest in a series of confrontations between China and some of its neighbors. Washington has sharpened rhetoric towards Beijing, describing a pattern of “provocative” actions by China.
 
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry discussed the situation by telephone with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh on Wednesday, the two governments said. Kerry also invited Minh to visit Washington, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
 
Dung, in some of his strongest comments yet on the breakdown in ties with Beijing, said that while Vietnam had sought to use dialog to settle the situation, the response from China had been an increase in force and intimidation.
 
“There is a vast gap between the words and deeds of China,” he said.
 
He followed up those remarks in a speech at the World Economic Forum on East Asia in which he warned the maritime territorial tensions could endanger global trade.
 
“The risk of conflict will disrupt these huge flows of goods, and have unforeseeable impact on regional and world economies,” he said. “It may even reverse the trend of global economic recovery.”
 
Both sides have traded accusations over who was to blame for a series of collisions between Vietnamese and Chinese vessels in waters near the oil rig earlier this month.
 
China claims about 90 percent of the South China Sea, displaying its reach on official maps with a so-called nine-dash line that stretches deep into the maritime heart of Southeast Asia. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have claims to parts of the potentially energy-rich waters.
 
Hanoi weighs options
 
Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam told Reuters on Thursday that Hanoi had been staying well-briefed on the progress of Manila's arbitration case.
 
“We have followed this case very closely and would like to use all measures provided by international law to protect our legitimate interests,” he said in an interview in Tokyo.
 
Diplomatic sources in Vietnam have previously told Reuters that China put pressure on Hanoi over joining the Philippine case.
 
Manila is seeking a ruling to confirm its right to exploit the waters in its exclusive economic zone as allowed under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
 
A ruling against China could prompt other claimants to challenge Beijing, experts say, although Manila has said it does not expect the tribunal to reach a decision before the end of 2015.
 
Any ruling would be unenforceable because there is no body under UNCLOS to police such decisions, legal experts say.
 
China 'brought us together'
 
To try to keep up pressure on Beijing, diplomats said Vietnam might host a meeting with Philippine and Malaysian officials at the end of the month to discuss how to respond to China, underscoring the nascent coordination among the three countries. Meetings in February and March had discussed the Philippine legal case.
 
A senior Malaysian diplomatic source told Reuters last week that China's assertiveness had given momentum to the three-way talks and “brought us together”, but he played down the discussions as little more than “chit chat” at this stage.
 
Malaysia had no intention of filing a legal case against China, the source added.
 
The growing Manila-Hanoi co-operation was a potential turning point in the tensions over the South China Sea that have intensified over the last five years said Carl Thayer of the Australian Defense Force Academy in Canberra.
 
“Vietnam may be siding up to the U.S. via the Philippines,” he said. “A joint or two separate legal challenges would really put China on the spot, and outside international law.”

You May Like

Islamic State Survivor: A Yazidi Girl's Tale

Sarah Said Haydar, captured a year ago while fleeing Islamic State onslaught in northern Iraq, was so traumatized by militants, she sought to end her own life More

EU, US Applaud Kosovo Law on Special Court

Joint statement says lawmakers' decision to address allegations of war crimes 'demonstrated their commitment to the rule of law and to honor international agreements' More

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: SEATO
May 23, 2014 4:35 PM
The Americans have approached the Taiwanese leaders and demanded an explanation for the legality of the 9-dash map which Taiwan released in 1947 and has been use as the basis for claim by the People's Republic of China.So far Taiwan hasn't complied for fear of enraging and making Beijing lose face,for they know that the map was produced without consultations and approvals from any country,wasn't based on facts or history whatsoever.This is the reason why China does not want Vietnam to follow the Philippines and sue them in the International Court of Arbitration,because China knows everything goes against them.In the meantime China would continue to intimidate Vietnam into submission through military and economic means.To safeguard Vietnam's territorial sovereignty,Vietnam has to step up its condemnation of China through all media and diplomatic channels, and strengthen all aspects of its defence strategies while preparing its legal battle against China's encroachment in the South China Sea

by: mac steven from: usa
May 23, 2014 3:44 AM
vn.gvment,let go for it,let the world know china is 2 face,tap cac binh is big LIER,can't trust china
In Response

by: hana90 from: earth
May 23, 2014 8:01 AM
just do it! china gov should be punished!

by: Depraved Angel from: Beijing,China
May 22, 2014 9:23 PM
Chinese are robbers
In Response

by: Black from: Shanghai,China
May 23, 2014 5:44 AM
It is well advised that VOA will be impartial and and do not report biased information.
In Response

by: Kay from: China
May 23, 2014 5:24 AM
so rude and not like a normal people to speak words.

by: meanbill from: USA
May 22, 2014 12:44 PM
"When facing a far superior enemy force, it is better to withdraw from the battlefield, and seek victory in a court of law" -- "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu?
In Response

by: Adam9 from: Dong Nai, VN
May 23, 2014 7:54 AM
Ah, an addendum !!
This must had been added recently by one of Sun Tzu 's disciples; nevertheless, he would have been delighted and approved, I am sure.
In Response

by: MOD from: CHINA
May 23, 2014 7:48 AM
It's seems that you have quoted it so many times............= 。=

by: Adam9 from: Dong Nai, VN
May 22, 2014 9:37 AM
About time !!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Tradei
X
Robert Carmichael
August 04, 2015 3:07 PM
Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Trade

Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Growing Number of E. Jerusalem Palestinians Seek Israeli Citizenship

Most Palestinians living in East Jerusalem have long rejected the option of full Israeli citizenship, seeing it as a betrayal to their political cause - the formation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. But as that dream remains elusive, more and more Palestinians are applying for Israeli citizenship. Zlatica Hoke reports the decision is hard for many Palestinians who say they have to be pragmatic about it.
Video

Video With No Money, More Students, African Universities Struggle

Academics from around the African continent converged in Johannesburg last week for the African Universities Summit, a chance to tackle some of the major issues facing higher education in Africa today. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Wisconsin's Voter ID Law Still Mired In Controversy

Voter ID laws have sparked controversy across the US. More than 30 states enacted laws requiring citizens to show identification before they vote. Against fierce opposition, the state of Wisconsin recently enacted one the most restrictive voter ID laws in country. As Jeff Swicord reports, no one can predict its impact as the 2016 election nears.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Hailed as Highly Effective

At last, there's a way to end the suffering from the Ebola epidemic that has ravaged West Africa for more than a year. Researchers say the vaccine is so effective, there may never be a major outbreak of Ebola again. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs