News / Asia

    Vietnam Faces Limited Options in China Sea Dispute

    FILE - Image released by Vietnam Coast Guard, a Chinese coast guard vessel, right, fires water cannon at a Vietnamese vessel off the coast of Vietnam.
    FILE - Image released by Vietnam Coast Guard, a Chinese coast guard vessel, right, fires water cannon at a Vietnamese vessel off the coast of Vietnam.
    Marianne Brown
    Vietnam has curbed the violent anti-China protests that swept the country after a Chinese oil rig began drilling in contested waters. But authorities have not dropped their opposition to the Chinese operation, sending boats to harass the drilling, considering waging a legal case in international courts to resolve the dispute, and courting regional allies like the Philippines.

    China tightened the screws on Vietnam this week by sending a “position paper” to the United Nations on the operations of its $1 billion-oil rig in a part of the South China Sea that Vietnam also claims.
     
    It accused Vietnam of ramming its vessels, sending frogmen and “other underwater agents” in waters which it says are indisputably Chinese.

     
    Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
    x
    Click to enlarge
    Click to enlarge
    China has always resisted third party intervention in disputes between rival claimants over territory in the South China Sea, but this shift could put Vietnam in a difficult position, says Professor Carl Thayer from the Australian Defense Force Academy.
     
    “Is China trying to provoke a debate in the general assembly, making countries make a decision to put up or shut up? Trying to isolate Vietnam by having those countries which are most concerned about China to shut up because they wouldn’t want to be seen as forced out into the open like Brunei, they just abstain and duck for cover," Thayer suggested.
     
    Vietnam cannot compete with China’s military muscle and remains heavily reliant on Beijing for trade. Vietnam is believed to be considering waging a legal case for the disputed territory, but taking its claims to an international court could take years.
     
    According to Thayer, one option could be to take advantage of the Philippines’ challenge of the legality of China's maritime claims at an international tribunal in The Hague.
     
    “The best approach politically, if relations between China are irreparable, would be to join the Philippines and try to bolster its claim as a friend of the Philippines," Thayer said.
     
    Vietnam’s coalition with the Philippines took a lighter tone on Monday when the country played football, volleyball and tug of war with sailors on an island in the Spratly archipelago.
     
    In the past the two governments would have been wary about organizing such an event, lest they appear to be “ganging up” on China, says Alexander Vuving, a security analyst at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Hawaii.
     
    However, things have now come to a point where both countries can step up and show their solidarity.
     
    Vietnam can look also look outside the region for support, he said.
     
    “India is far away but has also indicated its support for Vietnam so looking at the core interest for both nations I think that the casual allies, if you want to use the term, would be the Philippines, Japan and the U.S. and India," Vuving said.
     
    He added that Vietnam has been moving closer to the U.S. even before the oil rig crisis in a “continuing rapprochement to the rise of China”.
     
    But Vietnam’s politburo are divided on how close they get to Washington. Some do not want political reform and others have vested interests in economic ties with China.
     
    “I think fundamentally modernizers want to get closer to the U.S., not just for defense of the territory but also for economic reform," Vuving explained. " But they are not very well represented in the politburo right now.”
     
    Meanwhile, at home Vietnam is preparing for the long haul. On Monday the National Assembly passed a plan to spend $760 million to support fishermen and coast guards.
     
    The money will be used to buy equipment for patrols and build offshore fishing vessels for the Vietnam Coast Guard, the Vietnam Fisheries Resources Surveillance Force and fishermen.
     
    This includes construction of 3,000 steel-clad fishing boats, Tran Cao Muu, General Secretary of the Vietnam Fisheries Association said. The current fleet of around 100,000 boats are made of wood.
     
    He said policies to exploit resources in Vietnamese waters are not new, but the issue has become “hotter” following China’s aggressive actions in the sea.
     
    Vietnam has accused China of ramming its ships over 1,400 times, once causing a fishing boat to sink.
     
    Despite the increased dangers, Muu said Vietnam's fishing ships were operating as normal in the sea.

    You May Like

    Video Somali, AU Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    Somalia’s Western backers frustrated over country’s slow progress in establishing its armed forces to bring security after 25 years of chaos

    Israel Makes Push for Gaza Strip Recovery

    After years of economic blockade and attempts to disable Hamas, Israeli leaders eventually realized that Hamas’ downfall could lead to chaos or the rise of a more radical Jihadist group

    Slump in Chinese Tourists Hitting Hong Kong Retail

    Mainland Chinese account for up to three-quarters of visitors to Hong Kong, but that number is falling, and shopping centers are struggling to 'shift gears' and maintain sales

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
        Next 
    by: steven quinlan from: USA
    June 16, 2014 12:20 AM
    There will come a time when even the United State will have to bow down to china if we do nothing now, china is the America on steroids. Anything that we have vested in research and developed, which cost us billions, the chinese hack and steal from us. Even our new future weapons to protect our country through this century are already at risk to china, notice I do not capitalize china? To show my dis-like and lack of trust towards china for their lack of concern. They steal anything and make knock off products from Us America. Think what you will but the tide is turning and we better watch our asses when it comes to china.
    In Response

    by: Trung from: VN
    June 16, 2014 10:19 AM
    Hacking, stealing, copying and cloning are some of cHinA 's most important innovations. (notice the way I write cHinA)

    by: LiveFree from: USA
    June 12, 2014 10:03 PM
    Time for a break. Vietnam and Phil should co-host a Peace & Friendship soccer tournament event on Spratly inviting all ASEAN countries, Australia, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea to the event.

    Enjoy the games, beers and sea foods, while China navy circling around taking care of security.
    In Response

    by: LiveFree from: USA
    June 13, 2014 5:22 PM
    Sorry, I forgot Guam from the list. US will be invited as well. Any countries that have interests in freedom of navigation in SCS are welcome to come sharing the fun and show solidarity against aggression.
    In Response

    by: one jarhead from: guam
    June 13, 2014 8:16 AM
    Can we join u?

    by: ddd from: US
    June 12, 2014 5:50 PM
    Please, don't get US involved in this. What kind of stay-employed article is this? Viet and Phil are on bottom of US' to-do list. Don't try to take advantage of US again, we have enough name on Vietnam Memorial.
    In Response

    by: Hoang from: Canada
    June 13, 2014 10:26 AM
    I don't know if you're Chinese national posing as American.
    If not, its traitor Americans like you that caused decline of US and jobs lost to China. Do you think the communist China will stop at Asia with controlling 90% of East Sea?



    by: YinHong from: China
    June 12, 2014 1:43 AM
    No one can stop us. One day, The US will become slaves for us.
    Vietnam will not be on the map, because it'll belong to China.
    In Response

    by: Kim Dung from: Viet Nam
    June 17, 2014 12:39 AM
    I love China, China is beautiful but China government is not so good.
    In Response

    by: Hoang from: VN
    June 15, 2014 1:51 AM
    YinHong,
    China is beautiful, land, people and culture are the most wonderful ones in the world.
    In Response

    by: Adam9 from: Dong Nai, VN
    June 15, 2014 12:02 AM
    YinHong, you should not be thinking of enslaving others.
    In Response

    by: Hoang from: VN
    June 14, 2014 11:58 PM
    A democratic China shall be a peaceful and powerful China.
    In Response

    by: Hoang from: VN
    June 14, 2014 11:42 PM
    No one can stop Communist China, only the Chinese people can stop China.
    China now has a middle class, and the size of this middle class is increasing rapidly. Material things are no longer the most essential things in life for them; they need more and they will demand to have more: human rights, democracy, freedom of this and freedom of that, ...
    Gradually and naturally, the political landscape of China will change; no organization, no political party can resist the power of people, people's will is god's will, ... people rule.
    In Response

    by: Van Hoang from: Sai gon
    June 14, 2014 7:41 AM
    Yeah, I agree that no one can't stop china but they can make china break apart in the future. You, chinese mainland, have a backward culture and your country is still left behind the common value of the modern world. so sad to say that
    In Response

    by: Phamluyen from: Vietnam
    June 13, 2014 5:29 AM
    Cheeky china, all countries loving peace in the world don't want to be friends with you, your behaviors are disgrace
    In Response

    by: Tom Murphy from: West Virginia
    June 12, 2014 2:55 PM
    If Australia, Canada and USA decided to cut off food exports to China, the entire country would starve. If Europe did the same, China's population would fall dramatically. That's with no military action. If China's sea trade was brought to a halt, using minimal effort, China's economy would go back to the 1920s.
    In Response

    by: Junky from: US
    June 12, 2014 8:00 AM
    When we pull the productions back to the US or move to Indonesia. The dirty rats like you will go back and eat root to survive.

    by: Young thing from: nowhere
    June 12, 2014 12:08 AM
    Vietnam! Time to get out of China’s shade. Time to take responsibility for your country. Don’t let your ancestors' bone and blood bleed for nothing. You’ve got world’s support. You’ve got helps from many countries. Why do you have to hang on your decisions? Let send China to International Court of Justice. Don’t let China build its military base on Johnson reef. It will be the end of western pacific ocean, once China finishes building it

    by: Phương Anh from: Bắc Giang, Việt Nam
    June 11, 2014 11:30 PM
    I am Vietnamese, I just want to live in peace, let help my country, because we are poor so vulnerable to bullying, we want to rise up as a real powerhouse, China is not invading make them own
    In Response

    by: Mike from: US
    June 18, 2014 7:37 PM
    @Trong. Everyone in every country has to stand on his/her feet in order to survive in this world. That is the reality. However, do not cry to assold k for other help because your party already sold VN to China several year ago. Look at your current situation country now, everything depended on China, from economic to political. Your party leaders sold VN to China long time ago. Now, the only Vietnamese people can help to take back the country by tackle the dictators in VN. Do that before other country can help. Good luck
    In Response

    by: Dung
    June 14, 2014 10:52 AM
    Country people are poor.
    Party people make good money.
    In Response

    by: Trong from: Thai nguyen, Viet Nam
    June 13, 2014 11:11 PM
    Phuong Anh, Vietnamese need to step on our feet. Don't believe that other countries will help and look at their help. They only want to let Viet Nam down and gain their control over our country and they want to get our Party to go!

    by: PANHA from: IMPERIAL COUNTY
    June 11, 2014 10:56 PM
    The Vietnam taking Laos haft country of Cambodia now taking control whole Cambodia ,has Vietnam ever cry fool to the world ,US,Europe ,Japan? That is a big joke ,if you dare believe in Vietnam you will deserved to be cheated as usual ASK CHINA, RUSSIA ,FRENCH? The viets still curse them out every day, any thing else you need to hear?

    by: Walter O. Lituan from: Iligan City
    June 11, 2014 10:56 PM
    China should not be allowed to trade with the Asian countries. China is a bully ang a Hawk. CHina is all systems go. No one can defeat China now. This is the price of bringing all our industry in China. Boycott all China product and send them back to the desert.

    by: Thomas Gray from: USA
    June 11, 2014 10:18 PM
    Vietnam, if you sell your soul to the devil, eventually the devil must be paid.

    by: Adam9 from: Dong Nai, VN
    June 11, 2014 8:44 PM
    Great, I have read many good comments here today.
    Comments page of 2
        Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shababi
    X
    Henry Ridgwell
    April 28, 2016 4:20 PM
    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Town Receives Refugees but Lacks Resources

    A wave of refugees is pouring into the Kurdish town of Afrin in northern Syria as a result of fighting between rebel forces and Islamic State militants. VOA’s Amina Misto went to the town and reports local authorities are finding it difficult to cope with this influx of internally displaced people. Bronwyn Benito narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Build Human Tissue on Animal Matrix

    The question has always been, if a gecko can grow back its tail, why can't we regenerate our lost body parts? Well, maybe we can, someday. Scientists are moving towards the ability to rebuild fully functioning organs, and have made significant progress replacing muscles and other tissue.
    Video

    Video Containing Chernobyl Radiation Continues 30 Years After Explosion

    April 26 marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Hundreds were killed following the explosion and it's estimated that thousands more have died from cancers caused by the radiation. Henry Ridgwell traveled to Chernobyl and reports for VOA on the continuing efforts to decommission the site -- and on the fledgling plans for a new future in the vast exclusion zone.
    Video

    Video Frustration Builds Among Refugees Trapped at Macedonian Border

    On the Greek border with Macedonia, 12,000 refugees continue to wait. Since the route to the rest of Europe was closed last month, the makeshift camp at Idomeni has seen protests and tear gas. But while those here wait, their frustration grows — as do reports of people attempting to find new ways of continuing their journey. John Owens reports from Idomeni.
    Video

    Video Researchers: Bees Help Kenyan Farmers Fend Off Elephants

    Elephant crop-raiding continues to be a major source of human-wildlife conflict in Kenya, so one elephant researcher is helping to alleviate the problem near Tsavo East National Park with beehive fences, which use elephants’ natural aversion to bees to deter them from farms. VOA’s Jill Craig visited the area ahead of this month's Giants Club Summit, which will bring together dignitaries at Mount Kenya to find solutions to combat poaching, the No. 1 threat to elephants.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora