Last update 7/4/2011 8:00:00 AM (GMT+7)

“Extreme voice from China is only minority”
VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam’s response against China in the East Sea disputes is strongest in the last 20 years. Le Van Nghiem, chief of the Foreign Information Department spoke about the viewpoint in reporting the East Sea incidents.

VN condemns Chinese intrusion

Le Van Nghiem, chief of the Foreign Information Department.
Many international academics said that after Chinese ships cut the cables of Vietnamese ships in Vietnam’s continental shelf; many Chinese news agencies have distorted the truth and blamed the incidents on Vietnam. They event used un-goodwill words. How about Vietnamese news agencies?

The friendly relations between Vietnam and China have developed well in the last 20 years, and it is the common assets that the two nations need to preserve. Recently, after China conducted provocative acts in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, Vietnamese news agencies began to speak about the disputes in a clear, specific and accurate manner. The voice from the local media is correct, timely and necessarily. Our reaction in this issue is the strongest in the last 20 years.

As to the Chinese media, they have talked about the East Sea disputes very often in the last two years. Regrettably, some Chinese news agencies, including mainstream newspapers, sometime published the opinions of experts and generals who cheered the extreme nationalism, offended Vietnam and event threatened and called for the use of force to solve the East Sea disputes.

In comparison with Chinese news agency, the Vietnamese media is more restraint. They don’t use provocative and offensive words against China. Even when Chinese newspapers slandered Vietnam, we still responded by gentle and reasonable arguments.

Some said that because of our restrain, we don’t take advantage of the international community’s support. What do you think about it?

We don’t make public the differences between Vietnam and China in general, and the East Sea disputes in particular is to maintain and develop the friendship relations between the two sides. But China has talked a lot about these matters and they have not reported the actual situation and the nature of the disputes.

They have published many research works and evidences in various languages on the internet so the international community has known more about China’s stand.

In the East Sea disputes, Vietnam’s viewpoint has always been confirmed: Vietnam has enough legal and historical evidences to prove its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands.

However, we have not organized well the introduction of our evidences and arguments to the local and international communities. That is the limitation in our foreign information task.

After the recent incidents in the East Sea, when our newspapers raised their voice strongly, foreign news agencies have talked a lot about the issue. The BBC, Reuters, AFP, etc. have had many reportages about the East Sea disputes and this helps the world better understand the East Sea disputes. It is very good that through the local and international newspapers, international scholars and public have shown their support to Vietnam’s just standpoint.

This is a lesson for Vietnam’s foreign information task. In all cases, we need to take initiative in giving information to the local and world public. If we don’t do it or we don’t timely provide sufficient information to the public, we will give up the information battlefield for the rival.

In the current situation, how should we behave with extreme information on Chinese newspapers?

We have to firmly confirm and defend our sovereignty. This is the one that we will never make concessions. We need to make arguments to reject false information and arguments on Chinese newspapers.

It is not good that the Chinese media has let extreme voices appear. The voices of intimidation against Vietnam of some generals and scholars are only the minority voice, which don’t represent 14. billion Chinese, and over 80 million members of the Chinese Communist Party.

The extreme voice on the Chinese media is not helpful for the relations between the two countries and they are contrary to the common view of the two sides’ leaders. China now lets extreme ideology ram in the public opinion and the political circles. In nature, I think that though it is the minority voice but it represents the expansionism and extremism that will harm China’s interests in the future. After all, these voices only bring about disadvantages to China.

In terms of foreign information, what should Vietnam do to help Chinese people have access to objective information from Vietnam on the East Sea disputes?

Many countries don’t agree with China’s U-shape line in the East Sea.

The mission of Vietnam’s foreign information agencies is speaking out the just standpoint of Vietnam and Vietnam’s sovereignty in the East Sea.

We have justice and legal – historical evidences about our management of the Paracel and Spratly Islands in many centuries. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS) clearly points out the sovereignty of coastal countries. China’s U-shape line is absolutely groundless in both legal and historical aspects.

It is really difficult to bring our objective information to Chinese people because they have been listening to a one-way voice for many years, which makes them misunderstand the actual situation. It is very difficult to make them understand the truth.

We need to have information translated into Chinese and other languages. This task is not very costly but we have not attached importance to it.

On the other hand, we can perform this task through the foreign media, including Chinese media. Recently, Hong Kong’s Phoenix Television interviewed Vietnamese researcher Vu Ngoc Phan. Dr. Phan presented the East Sea disputes in a convincing and accurate way.

We have many researchers of the East Sea. How can we take advantage of this force?

Vietnam’s policy in defending its sovereignty over the sea and islands is bringing in full play the national strength and taking advantage of the international community.

We need to encourage scholars to make research works of the East Sea through specifically assistance policies.