There has been widespread international condemnation of China’s illegal activities in the Tu Chinh reef, international known as Vanguard Bank, in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the East Sea (internationally known as South China Sea).
|There has been widespread international condemnation of China’s illegal activities in the Vietnamese Tu Chinh reef.
In his writing posted on Eurasia Review, Indonesian senior journalist Veeramalla Anjaiah voiced objection to China’s recent activities in the Vietnamese waters, saying they are clear violations of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS 1982) which China is among the signatories.
The author also spoke highly of Vietnam’s outspoken call for the immediate withdrawal of the Chinese vessels from the Vanguard Bank area.
He noted that many countries like Australia, Canada, the EU, France, Germany and the US have lashed out at China for its provocative and unilateral actions in the East Sea, and called for a rules-based order.
The well-respected International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) has also slammed China for violating Vietnam’s legitimate rights in the Vanguard area, he highlighted, quoting IADL’s statement as saying “IADL requests that China promptly stop violating the sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction of Vietnam, stop carrying out activities that further complicate the situation and increase tension between related parties and begin to concentrate on building mutual trust to maintain the security, peace and stability in the South China Sea in particular and in the region in general”.
According to the journalist, the international community and the ASEAN bloc should condemn China’s unilateral provocative actions that violate the international law regarding the EEZs and continental shelves of Southeast Asian countries.
There should be solidarity among ASEAN nations on this troubling issue, he wrote, stressing they should accelerate full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and negotiations of the Code of Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (COC) which is legally binding, effective and based on the UNCLOS 1982 and other international rules to reduce tensions and avoid conflict.
The Times of India on September 4 also published an article titled “Big Brother Bullying: China’s actions in the South China Sea are bound to lead to counter-mobilisation”, which described China’s activities in the East Sea as “unilateral provocative manoeuvres that threaten regional peace and security”.
However, countries in Southeast Asia and those with stakes in the region have firm actions.
The article noted that the fourth edition of the Indian Ocean Conference was organised from September 3-4 in Maldives with the focus on navigational security entailing freedom of navigation, the implementation of the UNCLOS 1982 and developing effective regional institutional mechanisms for actualising international rules.
Then recently, during the official visit to Vietnam by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Vietnam and Malaysia laid stress on the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the East Sea, expressed concerns about recent developments in the region, and highlighted the significance of self-restraint, non-militarisation, and observance of international legal obligations.
The article urged China to “abandon its assertiveness in the South China Sea, engage in meaningful dialogue with all stakeholders without preconditions, uphold international rules, and jointly ensure security of regional maritime waters.”
Gerhard Will, an expert from the Stiftung Wissenchaft und Politik (the German Institute for International and Security Affairs) took note that China had made more actions that violate international laws in the East Sea in recent time.
It is noteworthy that the EU issued a statement on the East Sea on August 28 and three countries - Germany, the UK and France – released a joint statement on the following day, he said, pointing out that the moves showed the East Sea issue is related to the interests of not only the region but also the global community.
Besides, it also shows that international community wants the issue to be settled based on international law.