News / Asia

Vietnam Urges 'Practical US Actions' in S. China Sea

A Vietnamese sinking boat (L), which was rammed and then sunk by Chinese vessels near disputed Paracels Islands, is seen near a Marine Guard ship (R) at Ly Son island of Vietnam's central Quang Ngai province, May 29, 2014.
A Vietnamese sinking boat (L), which was rammed and then sunk by Chinese vessels near disputed Paracels Islands, is seen near a Marine Guard ship (R) at Ly Son island of Vietnam's central Quang Ngai province, May 29, 2014.
Vietnam is calling on the United States to take a larger role in protecting the peace and settling conflicts in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.

A foreign ministry spokesman in Hanoi, Le Hai Binh, said Friday, "We hope that the U.S. will have a stronger voice and make further practical acts to contribute to protecting maritime safety and security in the region and resolving the disputes there in accordance with international law.”

The Vietnamese call for more U.S. involvement comes as Vietnamese ships continue to clash with Chinese ships near a controversial oil rig that Beijing placed in disputed waters last month.

In an interview with VOA's Vietnamese service Friday, Captain Le Van Xinh, whose fishing vessel has ventured into the area near the oil rig, described a scene of escalating dangers to boats like his. He also called for dialogue between Hanoi and Beijing.

"We’d like to see the two countries, Vietnam and China, come up with peaceful resolutions through talks so that we, the fishermen, will be able to operate without fear within our own waters," said Le Van Xinh. "We’d like to ask Hanoi to try to protect our sovereignty so that we would be able to keep working on our traditional fishing areas to earn our living."

According to Vietnamese officials, Chinese ships have sunk one of its ships and damaged 24 others, as well as injured 12 members of its fisheries surveillance force. But China accuses Vietnamese ships of being the aggressors, saying they have rammed Chinese ships 120 times since early May.

The U.S. has said it does not take sides in the dispute and wants countries in the region to settle their differences peacefully.

At a recent military forum in Singapore, though, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said “China has undertaken destabilizing, unilateral actions asserting its claims in the South China Sea.”

Last year, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced the U.S. would provide about $18 million to help Vietnam patrol its territorial waters.

When asked recently about the prospect for further U.S. military support for Hanoi, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State of Human Rights, Tom Malinowski said the relationship will improve as Vietnam's human rights record improves.

"Vietnam is a relatively small country with a very large neighbor. And Vietnam needs international law. It needs to be part of a community that is based on respect for a common set of rules that are broadly understood and broadly respected. And part of the bargain is that there are other rules and laws, including those that protect individuals," said Malinowski.

China's territorial claims in the South China Sea overlap with those of Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Vietnamese service.

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Comments page of 5
by: Adam9 from: Dong Nai, VN
June 09, 2014 10:24 AM
@ J Haviland
I agree. You are absolutely correct about the importance of keeping China from taking control of the South China Sea. .. But with all due respect, I thought everybody knows about that too, no? … Isn't that what “Re balancing to Asia” strategy of Mr. Obama trying to achieve, yes?

-Anyway, within the “total picture” are us, Vietnamese, hope to take back the Paracels. And I think it is a false hope. This gangster government of Vietnam is incapable of doing it by force, China will not agree to participate in any arbitration court, and no country should go to war with China over the Paracels.

-As far as the South China Sea is concerned, I think this “Re balancing” strategy will keep it open for a long time into the future.

-The other part of the picture though, the East China Sea may be something of concerns. In 10 years or so, China will be strong enough to take Taiwan by force and nobody can do a thing about it. The US, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and others countries in region will have to spend a lot more money on defense.

by: jonathan huang from: canada
June 09, 2014 10:24 AM
@javiland. China claims 90% south china sea, but Viet also claims 80% south china sea. why should we allow viet to control SCS? both mainland and Democratic Taiwan claim the nine dash line. Mainland is not greedy but inherits the sea from ROC which is Taiwan now. Viet is greedy, without any proof but claims 80% south china sea? that is insane!

by: remie from: canada
June 09, 2014 7:00 AM
@ J Haviland,
I agree with you totally. Its not only Vietnam interest but the world. Its just the beginning of the end. Chinas peaceful negotiation and rise is yet to be peaceful.
Other countries have dispute no matter the ridiculous of the claim BUT they do not escalate the status quo .

by: J Haviland from: US
June 08, 2014 10:25 PM
I think a lot of people fail to see the total picture in this. This is not just a fight between Vietnam and China. China is claiming 90% of the South China Sea which is a VERY important trade route for the world, not just for Vietnam. China is acting belligerent and aggressive, thanks to its newly found power, and it will NOT limit its actions to just its smaller neighbors in Asia. As a matter of fact, in the past few years, China has been harassing Japanese AND US ships as well.
If China is allowed to control the South China Sea, all trading ships passing through will have to go by its rules which will not necessarily abide by international laws. China has total disregards to international laws in the past and it will not hesitate to do that again.
The U.S. made a big mistake in 1974 to allow China to take the Paracels by force from South Vietnam, a US ally then, which leads to the current problem in the region. It's 40 years later and China is now considered one of the world's superpowers and it is almost in the position to do whatever it pleases if the U.S. is standing there and doing nothing.
Wake up, people, the world is dealing with a giant country that aims to make itself the ultimate "Middle Kingdom" as it once was. And it will not stop at anything to achieve that goal when it will have total control of the world.

by: Hien from: Earth
June 08, 2014 6:26 PM
Chitnese Pirates at sea without the rules of open sea

by: P. Huynh from: Orange County, CA
June 08, 2014 4:38 PM
I was a political refugee of the Vietnam War. It took my mother and I 6 tries to escape a communist regime of Vietnam. Of which, I saw fishing boats shot to shred killing almost everyone on board with little regards to children, women, or elders.

To everyone that is ignorant enough to think Vietnam as a whole wanted to be Communist, you really need to do more research. True Vietnamese patriots know that Vietnam is separated between North (communist) Hanoi, and South (Republic) Saigon. Yes, SAIGON, not Ho Chi Minh City.

Understand during the Vietnam war, Saigon, the South, fought along side the United States to oust the Communist regime. We embraced the US help and loved the GI's for it. If it hadn't for all the hippy flag waving back home in the states, 2 more days of bombing would have forced Hanoi, the north into surrender. How do I know? Because my grandfather was a commander in the Republic of Vietnam Army fighting the Vietcongs. Vietnam is very much like Korea. If the south had won the war, we would have a democratic nation. The US didn't lose the war, and Vietnam didn't win. The communists Won.

As much as I hate helping the Vietnamese Communist, it would be far worse to see the people of a whole nation oppressed by a stronger power. Two wrongs don't make a right. As much as I would love to see the Communist, Hanoi thugs rot in the feces that they've accumulated, I cannot watch my people possibly fall victim to greater communist oppression. China needs to be checked otherwise, they will lean on Korea, Japan, and the Philipines.

by: Vincent Nguyen
June 08, 2014 3:54 PM
the vietnamese is fiercely independent minded. Vietnam tries to play both the USA and China and hopefully remains unscathed thru this conflict. While the rest of the world bound together under american leadership against china, vietnam reluctantly agrees to an usa vietnam loose agreement.
Vietnam will not get any help until she is willing to reform democracy and join the free world in this confict against china. Either she is with the us or against . There will be no middle road approach. If war broke out, vietnam will be naked alone against the chinese.

by: Le from: US
June 08, 2014 3:07 PM
"We hope that the U.S. will accordance with international law.” Commies are thugs. When they are in control, their own people and everything else including the environment suffer. Viet commies should see if China commies will take you in.
Go ahead, give away Vietnam to China, and the Chinese commies will do what they did together with the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and kill a few millions of your best people. Top Viet commies, you are so very stupid - probably got brainwashed by big brother thugs (China). What kind of leader would make their best people spend 50% of their time studying Marx-Lenin crap. How can you deter foreign invaders, stupid commies? You are behaving exactly like your enemy (lie, cheat, ...). You are not cool, and all of you are going down, commies.

by: DS from: USA
June 08, 2014 2:08 PM
After violating the Paris Peace accords and staying in bed with the communists ... Viet Nam should deal with this themselves.

Ho wanted a unified country and now they have it!!!

by: Fairmind from: USA
June 08, 2014 2:00 PM
Isn't Vietnam claiming 80% of South China sea, overlapping the claims of the Philippines? Which international law supports that?
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