- Under the leadership of Xi Jinping, China’s actions in disputed areas in the Sea of Japan and the South China Sea (Known in Vietnam as the Eastern Sea) have brought about political instability and potential military conflicts in one of the most economically dynamic areas of the world;
- China invaded the Paracel Archipelago, under the sovereignty of the then Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) by force in 1974 and again in 1988 it invaded several islands in the Spratly Archipelago jointly claimed by Vietnam, The Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei;
- China unilaterally makes the largest claim in the Eastern Sea, and bases it on the ‘nine- dash line’ map that was published by the Chinese Ministry of the Interior, in defiance of the United Nations Convention on the law of the Sea Treaty (UNCLOS). This
claim absurdly covers about 80% of the Eastern Sea;
- It does not hesitate to use superior naval power to seize islands and sea areas belonging to the Republic of the Philippines. On 22 January 2013, the Philippines instituted proceedings against the People’s Republic of China in the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). On 19 February 2013, China rejected and returned the Philippines’ Notification. China has steadfastly refused to recognize the jurisdiction of the PCA (unless it rules in its favour) despite the fact it is signatory to the UNCLOS Treaty;
- China has declared an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the Sea of Japan over the disputed Diaoyu Islands with Japan. There is every possibility that China will declare an ADIZ over vast areas of the Eastern Sea;
- Despite US warnings to the contrary, China has built and fortified artificial islands, islets and reefs that could include airstrips, with a view to establishing a substantial and permanent military presence in one of the most important sea lanes of the world;
- China has moved their giant oil rig HD981 within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone in May 2014, in flagrant violation of international law and the above UNCLOS Treaty.
We submit that Chinese aggression both in the Sea of Japan and in the Eastern Sea is symptomatic of a totalitarian but morally bankrupt regime facing insurmountable challenges to its legitimacy, such as economic stagnation, socio-economic inequality, and more assertions from oppressed ethnic minorities demanding autonomy. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has no alternative but to engage in external conflicts and use them as excuses in order to repress internal dissent.
Mr. Trung Dinh, Vice Chairman, External Affairs, Tel.: (703)624-1067