VietNamNet Bridge – National sovereignty is sacred and imprescriptible. In this
field, all countries and nations are equal. There is no distinction between
big-small countries and big countries have no right to bully smaller countries,
said Prof. Phan Huy Le, Chairman of the Association of Historical Sciences of
Vietnam, in an interview with the Past and Present Magazine.
|Phan Huy Le, Chairman of the Association of Historical Sciences of Vietnam|
The Binh Minh 02 and Viking 02 ships performed seismic surveys in Vietnam’s continental shelf. Cutting cables of the two ships is obviously the provoking acts, the violation of Vietnam’s sovereignty under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS), in which China is a member. Moreover, the two incidents are only 14 days from each other. It proves the seriousness of China’s violation and China’s calculation.
In your opinion, how serious are the incidents and what is China’s purpose?
After the first incident, Vietnam strongly protested and asked China to put an end to its violation, to respect the UNCLOS and the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea 2002 (DOC), and to implement the agreements between the two countries’ leaders in maintaining the friendship between the two sides.
The second incident shows that China ignored everything and it is pursuing a strategic goal: unilaterally and perversely imposing and gradually realizing its U-shape claim in the East Sea, which has no historical and legal ground.
This is the threat to not only Vietnam’s sovereignty but also the interests of many countries in the region and the world, which use the international sea lanes linking the Pacific to the Indian Ocean through the Southeast Asian sea.
In this situation, how should Vietnam behave?
China’s acts have heated up the East Sea. Certainly, Vietnam has to keep an eye on the situation and build a long-term strategy while taking initiative in timely dealing with each incident. My suggestions are:
1. Our immutable standpoint is national sovereignty and territorial integrity is sacred and imprescriptible. In this field, all countries and nations are equal. There is no distinction between big-small countries and big countries have no right to bully smaller countries.
Vietnam’s history recorded many declarations of national sovereignty and Vietnamese people’s determination to defend our sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The country’s history also proves that Vietnam is a small country (in comparison with foreign invaders), but it could make strength to defend its national independence and national sovereignty.
2. Attaching much importance to maintaining peace and stability to the country and the region, being self-restraint and patient in solving disputes in the East Sea by international law and peaceful negotiation with related sides.
It is necessary to focus on diplomatic struggling, particularly legal diplomats, on regional and international forums and at regional and international organizations, to show the world Vietnam’s reason and justice. In this struggling, not military power but the power of reason and justice is the most convincing.
3. Defending independence and sovereignty is the responsibility of not only the ruling Party, but also the responsibility and sacred duty of Vietnamese people at home and abroad. Therefore, the people must be quickly informed of the situation in the East Sea.
4. The history of Vietnam shows that the greatest latent power of Vietnamese people is the power of patriotism, the power of national unity. Whenever the country is in danger, every Vietnamese is ready to ignore personal interests to place national interests at first to defend the country together.
Defense strength is very important, international alliance is necessary but the power of patriotism and national unity are always the most decisive factors. Thus, improving the people’s awareness of the right of sovereignty and the right of jurisdiction over Vietnam’s territorial waters, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in the East Sea, and the historical and legal ground on Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands is very important. But, we do not have many books on this issue to meet the people’s requirements.
The Vietnam Association of Historical Sciences is about to publish a research work on Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly Islands in order to partly contribute to meet the requirement.
Source: Past and Present Magazine