VNTB – East Sea: Impending Storm Raging!

Tàu thám hiểm "Hải Dương Địa Chất 8" của Cục Khảo sát Địa chất Trung Quốc (Ảnh: China Geological Survey)

Dien Vy, english, Kate Chesterson, news, The South China Sea, Vanguard Bank, VNTB 09 tháng 8

Dien Vy

(VNTB) – As many as 35 Chinese ships were discovered to have appeared around the Vanguard Bank in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone ( EEZ ) at the tensest moment. On August 3rd, the number of Chinese vessels in Vietnam’s territorial waters amounted to 80 of all kinds.

Tàu khảo sát địa chấn của Trung Quốc ở gần Bãi Tư Chính hồi tháng 7/2019
Courtesy of Twitter Ryan Martinson

In covering escalating tensions in the East Sea, also referred to as the South China Sea, State-owned papers almost always tend to lag behind social media. The utmost Communist Party-controlled papers can do is to vigorously condemn China’s moves and expect the dispute to be settled in accordance with international law. However, for a perverse country which looks down on the 2016 ruling of Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) concerning the East Sea and goes on to encroach upon other nations’ territorial seas, it is obviously a blatant disregard for international law.
State-owned papers enthusiastically announced that Chief of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs “dared” to refer to the Chinese group of ships as China violating Vietnam’s sovereignty; in the meantime, however, the 52nd ASEAN Ministerial-level Conference in Bangkok was unable to issue any common statement with regard to China’s serious encroachment upon Vietnam’s EEZ. Thus, Vietnam has to turn to faraway allies such as India, the U.S., Japan, and even Europe.
Vietnam is currently taking a firmer stance compared with its attitude during confrontations in 2017 and 2018 when it had to quietly kowtow to China and accepted to pay millions of USD to Repsol following its order to stop exploitation in the East Sea. Bennett Murray stated that Vietnam had “retrieved its backbone” to be able to stand upright in dealing with China.
This time, Vietnam still lets Rosneft – a Russian firm- to maintain its activities at the Vanguard Bank waters in spite of China’s provocations.
Carl Thayer, an expert on Vietnam issues, has noticed that Vietnam is using four “different channels” in dealing with China: diplomacy, security, national defense, and the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs to send dozens of protests to the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing, and other agencies concerned.
Vietnam has requested China to immediately stop violations and withdraw all survey vessels together with escort ships out of Vietnam’s territorial waters.
At the same time, Vietnam’s marine law enforcement agencies take a series of suitable measures to exercise sovereignty and jurisdiction over the area legally and peacefully.
On July 4th, the Haiyang Dizhi 8 together with a number of coastguard ships escorted by fishing boats entered Vietnam’s EEZ.

Kể từ thứ Tư tuần trước (ngày 3 tháng 7), tàu khảo sát Haiyang Dizhi 8 của Trung Quốc đã thực hiện một cuộc khảo sát địa chấn vùng đặc quyền kinh tế của Việt Nam, ở vùng biển phía tây đảo Trường Sa do Việt Nam chiếm đóng.
Trung Quốc không chỉ khảo sát địa chấn mà còn khảo sát thủy văn. Các lĩnh vực hoạt động của họ, bao gồm Biển Đông, Biển Bắc Andaman, Vịnh Bengal, Biển Ả Rập, Bờ biển Châu Phi. Các khảo sát này nhằm mục đích tạo ra các biểu đồ độ sâu cho các hoạt động SSN của họ.

An EU high-ranking representative is currently staying in Hanoi following the ASEAN Ministerial-Level Conference in Thailand. It emerged that Hanoi and EU are planning to sign a defense agreement on August 5th, 2019. This move comes in the context of EU intention to further expand its Asian influence and contain Beijing’s expansion on one of the world’s key maritime routes.
This is probably a piece of good news at the moment. However, State-owned papers have been censored on the issue. The brief news posted on Soha website concerning the Vietnam-EU Defense Agreement has been removed. Other papers’ coverage merely emphasize EU expansion toward Asia without mentioning the prospect of Vietnam-EU defense ties even though they used the same source of information from Asia Times.
According to the Inquirer, U.S. military exercises will mainly focus on the East Sea in 2020 in the context of China’s increase in military muscle and regional expansion via building of artificial islands and allowing coastguard ships, paramilitary boats and fishing ones to encroach upon other countries’ territorial waters in the region, including Vietnam.
Vietnam’s coastguard ships, according Carl Thayer, have been attacked and intercepted by water cannons from Chinese vessels. There were as many as 35 Chinese vessels during tense situations. On August 3rd, the total of Chinese ships amounted to 80.
The East Sea is raging violently. Vietnam’s Association of Aqua-Products has called for the government’s firmer stance in protest against China. Whether or not the Vietnamese people stand side by side with the Party and the State to defend the country’s sovereignty while the country is on the brink of an impending sea war caused by China’s aggressiveness remains unknown. This remains to be seen as nobody understands how serious the real situation has grown.
Translated by Kate Chesterson.
Source: Biển Đông Dậy Sóng

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