Vietnam Considers Legal Action Against China

Posted by Joseph Keefe
Thursday, May 22, 2014

Vietnam says will "resolutely defend its sovereignty." China says Vietnam making "irresponsible accusations" against it; Philippines submitted arbitration case against China in March.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said his government was considering various "defence 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 defence options, including legal actions in accordance with international law," Dung said in an email 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.

"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.

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 neighbours. 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 dialogue 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 Defence 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."


By Rosemarie Francisco and Manuel Mogato

Maritime Reporter August 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Offshore

3Si Group Launches Offshore Division

3Si Group, whose global portfolio of marine safety products and services covers commercial, leisure and military markets, has announced the formation of 3Si Offshore,

Rosneft, Gazprom to Receive Four Arctic Fields

Ministry of the Environment sent to the government documents on the transfer of "Rosneft" and "Gazprom" licenses for the development of four more fields on the Arctic shelf,

Edelweiss Now Controls Bharati Shipyard

Edelweiss Asset Reconstruction Company has taken over management control of Bharati Shipyard, says a report in ET.   Edelweiss now controls 70% of the Indian yard’s debts.

Navy

Canadian Frigates Get a Radar Upgrade

German navigation system manufacturer Raytheon Anschütz has completed factory acceptance tests and delivery of 12 sets of navigation radars for the Canadian Navy’s Halifax-class frigates.

Virginia-Class Submarine Named USS Iowa

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus hosted a ship-naming ceremony today in Ames, Iowa to announce that SSN 797, a Virginia-class attack submarine, will bear the name USS Iowa.

Russian Spy Ship near US Nuke Submarine Bases

Fox News and the Washington Free Beacon reported the presence of a  top Russian spy ship off the coast of Kings Bay, Georgia and is capable of cutting undersea cables.

Energy

US Oil Drillers Cut Rigs as Crude Prices Collapse

U.S. energy firms cut a surprisingly sharp 13 oil rigs this week, the first drop in seven weeks, as a renewed slump in prices this summer forced drillers to make a second round of cut-backs.

Asia Tankers-VLCC Rates Will See More Volatility

VLCC market to be "hot" in Q4 -VLCC broker. Freight rates for very large crude carriers (VLCCs) face a roller-coaster ride on uncertain cargo volumes and vessel

Rosneft, Gazprom to Receive Four Arctic Fields

Ministry of the Environment sent to the government documents on the transfer of "Rosneft" and "Gazprom" licenses for the development of four more fields on the Arctic shelf,

Maritime Security

Virginia-Class Submarine Named USS Iowa

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus hosted a ship-naming ceremony today in Ames, Iowa to announce that SSN 797, a Virginia-class attack submarine, will bear the name USS Iowa.

Russian Spy Ship near US Nuke Submarine Bases

Fox News and the Washington Free Beacon reported the presence of a  top Russian spy ship off the coast of Kings Bay, Georgia and is capable of cutting undersea cables.

HII Wins $109.4mln U.S. Navy Contract

Huntington Ingalls  has received a $109.4mln contract modification to carry out support services for the U.S. Navy’s nuclear submarines.   The company will work to engineer,

News

Neander Deal Sees Yanmar Return to Diesel Outboards

Marking its return to the diesel outboard market, engineering company Yanmar Marine International (YMI) has reached an agreement for exclusive distribution rights

US Oil Drillers Cut Rigs as Crude Prices Collapse

U.S. energy firms cut a surprisingly sharp 13 oil rigs this week, the first drop in seven weeks, as a renewed slump in prices this summer forced drillers to make a second round of cut-backs.

Ailing Crewman Medevaced from Cable Lay Ship off US

A crew member reportedly suffering from a heart attack was air lifted by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew from a cable-laying vessel 80 miles west of Coos Bay, Ore.

Coast Guard

Ailing Crewman Medevaced from Cable Lay Ship off US

A crew member reportedly suffering from a heart attack was air lifted by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew from a cable-laying vessel 80 miles west of Coos Bay, Ore.

U.S. Coast Guard Responds to Collision Near Paducah

On-scene assessment teams have reported the maximum estimated potential clarified slurry oil released from the tug collision is now 250,000 gallons, Thursday. The

USCG AIS Mandate Resource Center Launched

McMurdo informs it has launched an online resource center at to help impacted vessel operators comply with the requirements of the United States Coast Guard (USCG)

Maritime Safety

Ailing Crewman Medevaced from Cable Lay Ship off US

A crew member reportedly suffering from a heart attack was air lifted by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew from a cable-laying vessel 80 miles west of Coos Bay, Ore.

3Si Group Launches Offshore Division

3Si Group, whose global portfolio of marine safety products and services covers commercial, leisure and military markets, has announced the formation of 3Si Offshore,

U.S. Coast Guard Responds to Collision Near Paducah

On-scene assessment teams have reported the maximum estimated potential clarified slurry oil released from the tug collision is now 250,000 gallons, Thursday. The

Eye on the Navy

Virginia-Class Submarine Named USS Iowa

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus hosted a ship-naming ceremony today in Ames, Iowa to announce that SSN 797, a Virginia-class attack submarine, will bear the name USS Iowa.

Russian Spy Ship near US Nuke Submarine Bases

Fox News and the Washington Free Beacon reported the presence of a  top Russian spy ship off the coast of Kings Bay, Georgia and is capable of cutting undersea cables.

Chinese Ships Headed Home After Bering Sea Sighting

Five Chinese Navy ships sighted in the Bering Sea off Alaska during a visit to the region by U.S. President Barack Obama have begun their "return transit," the top uniformed officer in the U.

Government Update

Timing in Doubt on Hapag-Lloyd IPO

German container shipping group Hapag-Lloyd has taken further steps in preparation of a stock market listing and has mandated more banks for the move, but it remains

Australia's New Shipping Laws Threaten Loss of Jobs

The planned changes to Australia’s shipping laws would cause a 93% loss of Australian seafaring jobs a new report says.   More than nine in 10 domestic seafarers

Proposed Shipping Legislation to Jeopardise$100-million Investment in Australia

Australian-owned Bass Strait shipping operator SeaRoad Holdings has warned the Federal Government that its proposed Shipping Legislation Amendment Bill could jeopardise

 
 
Maritime Security Maritime Standards Navigation Port Authority Salvage Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.7582 sec (1 req/sec)