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

Arab League Delays Forming Joint Force

Delay grows out of one of original obstacles facing pan-Arab force, analysts say: 'They may agree on the principle, but they continue to argue about how to implement the project' More

Pakistan Demands Afghanistan Protect Its Kabul Mission, Staff

Officials in Islamabad say Afghan agents are harassing Pakistani embassy personnel, particularly those living outside of mission’s compound More

US Survey: Trump Lead Grows in Republican Presidential Contest

Quinnipiac University poll shows brash billionaire real estate mogul with 28 percent support among Republican voters 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs