The Creator placed Vietnam, a small country which always respects concord, next to a vast country, China, which has cherished the conspiracy of taking over neighboring countries for thousands of years. This challenges the Vietnamese nation, but also steels it and reinforces its strong will and strategic spirit.

East Sea,Vanguard Bank,nine dash line,chinese activities,Vietnam politics news

Modern Vietnamese have inherited their ancestors’ characteristics – respecting neighbors and having both feet on the ground. Therefore, any time when China attempts to intimidate and harrass the national sovereignty, we still respond on the basis of mutual respect and deal with problems in a calm manner to avoid falling into armed conflict, making every effort to maintain the peace and take care of the country’s development.

Over many years, China, on one hand, has stated that it is necessary to maintain the status quo of the East Sea, and not complicate the situation to hurt the Vietnam-China friendship, but on the other hand, acts quite differently from what it says.

It secretly builds a military base, carries out escalation activities on islands, blatantly sends vessels to infringe on Vietnamese territorial waters, and does illegal things in the Vietnamese special economic zone and continental shelf. It provokes and harasses Vietnamese fishermen who are working in their traditional fishing fields, causing serious damage to life and property. 

Over many years, China, on one hand, has stated that it is necessary to maintain the status quo of the East Sea, and not complicate the situation to hurt the Vietnam-China friendship, but on the other hand, acts quite differently from what it says.

In summer 2014, China deployed Haiyang 981 in Vietnam’s special economic zone for two months. These days, it has repeated the same activities at the Vanguard Bank which is in the Vietnamese special economic zone and the continental shelf south of the East Sea.

According to the Vietnamese Foreign Affairs Ministry’s spokesperson, in the past days, China's Haiyan Dizhi 8 ship infringed on the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of Vietnam in the southern part of the East Sea. These waters belonging to Vietnam, defined in accordance with the provisions of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), of which both Vietnam and China are members.

China's actions have been condemned by the international community. In a statement released on July 20, the spokesperson for the US State Department emphasized that China's repeated provocative activities that cause uncertainties to the region, targeting Vietnam’s oil and gas exploitation operations, must be stopped.

Protesting against perverse Chinese actions of disregarding international laws, Vietnam has sent diplomatic note, put forward issues about the East Sea at high-ranking meetings, organized international seminars and shown historic evidence to show its sovereignty. However, China has not paid any attention and has ignored our good will.


The current situation requires Vietnam to change its method of struggle and reform its diplomatic philosophy. It is necessary to start the preparation of a dossier to sue China in International Court. This meets the desire of the Vietnamese people and is the practical action in such a situation.

Vietnam is now a member of many multilateral organizations. We were just successfully appointed to the post of non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, which brings a great advantage.

If considering the content of the judgment of the international arbitral tribunal, referring to the UN Law of the Sea, and the Philippines' winning its case in its lawsuit against China in 2016, we can be sure we will win if we file a lawsuit in international court.

Vietnam once intended to do this. At the government’s regular meeting on June 30, 2014, the PM requested appropriate agencies to prepare dossiers to submit to high-ranking leaders for consideration to carry out a legal struggle based on international laws.

However, later, China removed its oil rig and vessels out of the Vietnamese special economic zone and the preparation discontinued. Now it is the right time for a restart.

Winning the legal battle doesn’t mean that the danger of being taken over by the neighboring country will no longer exist. However, with the judgment of the international court, Vietnam's legitimacy will be consolidated, and Vietnamese power will be strengthened.

Meanwhile, we can show our definitive attitude towards the East Sea issue: Vietnam’s will not let any inch of the fatherland fall into the hands of foreign states.

In the case of the Senkaku Island dispute, China cannot act arbitrarily, not only because Japan is a naval power, but also because the country has an agreement on national defense cooperation with a big country. This is a lesson for our reference.

In the era of deep global integration, many legal frameworks and rules have been set up to run the ‘village’ of the world in peace. One of them is the 1982 UNCLOS. If handling the East Sea dispute with a lawsuit at an international arbitral tribunal, Vietnam can receive the support of the world community that loves peace and justice, and have the ability to force China to a multi-sided negotiation table with advantages inclined to us. 

Truc Nguyen