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Ex-envoy says time for Vietnam to raise Chinese rig issue to UN

Vietnam should refer China’s illegal oil rig deployment to the United Nations Security Council and the UN General Assembly as soon as possible, Vo Anh Tuan, Vietnam’s former ambassador to the UN, has urged.

Vietnam should refer China’s illegal oil rig deployment to the United Nations Security Council and the UN General Assembly as soon as possible, Vo Anh Tuan, Vietnam's former ambassador to the UN, has urged.
Vietnam should refer China’s illegal oil rig deployment to the United Nations Security Council and the UN General Assembly as soon as possible, Vo Anh Tuan, Vietnam’s former ambassador to the UN, has urged.

The ex-ambassador, who is also former vice-chairman of the Vietnam Peace Committee, has talked to VnExpress newspaper on what Vietnam should do in response to the illicit deployment of the Chinese-run drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou within Vietnamese waters since May 1.

The act has not only violated Vietnam’s sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, but also infringed the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Tuan remarked.

“Therefore, Vietnam should not hesitate to raise the Chinese oil rig issue to the United Nations (UN) Security Council for settlement,” Tuan said. “This is a ripe chance for Vietnam to expose China’s wrongful acts to the world.”

Tuan admitted that China, a permanent member of the council, will likely use its right of veto to reject Vietnam’s claim.

“But even so, bringing the issue to the UN still creates a good opportunity for Vietnam to lay bare China’s wrongful acts to the other country members of the Council,” the former diplomat added.

Vietnam should also raise this issue to the UN General Assembly to seek more support from the international community to Vietnam’s legitimate struggle to protect its sovereignty over its seas and islands, Tuan said.

“The above moves are necessary diplomatic steps and I believe that many countries will give support to Vietnam,” the ex-ambassador said.

Tuan did not rule out the possibility that China can use its economic strength as a tool to lobby other countries to support it in the dispute with Vietnam in the East Vietnam Sea.

“But it cannot last long,” he noted, adding that “nobody can hide the truth forever. “

“The experience from Vietnam’s two resistance wars in the past has showed that the governments of some countries could act against Vietnam but the people in those countries still give support to Vietnam,” Tuan stressed.

“The same situation will repeat in the current struggle by Vietnam against China’s violation of sovereignty,” he said.

Before the interview with the ex-diplomat, Tuoi Tre conducted another with lawyer, Prof. Dr. Nguyen Van Nam, a senior researcher in international law, on how to sue China for violating Vietnam’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.

As China has illegally deployed an oil rig in Vietnam’s waters and used ships to attack Vietnamese vessels that have been trying to drive the rig and its guarding ships away, Vietnam should sue China to an international court for “using force to settle disputes,” Dr. Nam said.

China’s use of force – in which Chinese ships have rammed or fired their water cannons at Vietnamese vessels, causing injures to 12 Vietnamese fisheries surveillance officers and damaged several boats so far – has violated Article 2, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, Dr. Nam said.

By using force against Vietnam, China has also violated Article 279 of UNCLOS, which reads: “States Parties shall settle any dispute between them concerning the interpretation or application of this Convention by peaceful means in accordance with Article 2, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations and, to this end, shall seek a solution by the means indicated in Article 33, paragraph 1, of the Charter,” Dr. Nam pointed out.