Russian jurist urges Vietnam to seek international support on South China Sea

By Viet Anh   July 24, 2019 | 08:30 pm PT
Russian jurist urges Vietnam to seek international support on South China Sea
Vietnamese-held Ladd Reef, in the Spratly Island group in the East Sea, known internationally as the South China Sea. Photo handed out via Reuters.
With Chinese ships infringing on its waters, a Russian law expert says Vietnam should seek the international community's support to protect its rights.

Dr. Irina Anatolyevna Umnova, asked by VnExpress what Vietnam should do after China sent oil survey vessel Haiyang Dizhi 8 and escorts that encroached on its waters earlier this month, said it is important that countries speak up against the infringement.

The international community should tell China to respect the rights of relevant parties, come to the negotiating table and follow international law, she said in Hanoi on Wednesday.

Vietnam should remain tenacious about resolving disagreements through peaceful methods and underlining its stance against violence, said Umnova, who is head of the Russian State University of Justice’s Faculty of Constitution and Law Research under the Supreme Court of Russia.

Russian law expert Umnova Irina Anatolyevna attends an event in Hanoi July 24, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Viet Anh.

Russian law expert Umnova Irina Anatolyevna attends an event in Hanoi, July 24, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Viet Anh.

Asked about the Philippines’ suit against China in the Permanent Court of Arbitration for its controversial nine-dash line in 2013 and the tribunal ruling in the Philippines’s favor in 2016, she said it was a peaceful method to get the international community to focus on South China Sea issues. Vietnam calls the waters the East Sea.

"Despite China not accepting [the tribunal’s ruling], the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling in 2016 holds great political and social meaning."

China should pull the oil survey vessel Haiyang Dizhi 8 and its escorts out of Vietnam's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf, she said, calling it an infringement of Vietnam’s sovereignty and jurisdiction.

"China’s actions completely go against the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, against efforts by Southeast Asian nations to protect peace and resolve conflicts through peaceful methods. Such actions must not happen again in future."

Vietnam last Friday demanded that China withdraw the oil survey vessel and its escorts from Vietnamese waters, accusing them of infringing on its EEZ and continental shelf.

Le Thi Thu Hang, the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said Vietnam has contacted China many times through various channels, delivered diplomatic notes to protest against China's violations and staunchly demand that China stop all unlawful activities and respect Vietnam's sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its waters, which would serve the interests of bilateral relations as well as regional stability and peace.

Vietnamese authorities have employed a range of measures at sea to exercise Vietnam’s sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction in a peaceful and lawful manner for safeguarding Vietnamese waters, she added.

The U.S. Department of State on Saturday said it's concerned by reports of China’s interference with Vietnam and other countries' oil and gas activities.

It called Chinese acts "bullying," saying that China’s reclamation and militarization of disputed outposts in the waterway, including the use of maritime militia to intimidate, coerce, and threaten other nations, undermine the peace and security of the region.

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