On 6 May (today in Asia), newspapers announced China’s decision to conduct deep-sea drilling near the Paracel islands—a set of islands South Vietnam held during the US occupation of South Vietnam; however, when the US left, China took the opportunity to seize the islands by invading the islands in 1974 and killing ~70 Vietnamese soldiers. The Paracel Islands lie some 200 miles off the coast of Vietnam (Da Nang); whereas when comparing to China, it is ~500 miles from Hong Kong or ~300 miles from Hainan Island.
Vietnam has largely been quiet over this issue…until now. As memorial services have started appearing (last one I’m familiar with was the 40th anniversary of the invasion last year in January) and now as Beijing begins exercising its “right” over the resources in what Vietnam believes is their Economic Exclusive Zone (or EEZ), Hanoi is forced to address this issue with one of its closest ideological neighbors.
Vietnam is backed by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (or UNCLOS), showing that Vietnam holds the EEZ through its definition. But China won’t listen. As reported earlier, Vietnam has been meeting with other Southeast Asian States (Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and sometimes Brunei) to work on a joint strategy for battling China’s aggressive actions…. But so far, only the Philippines has brought China to court (see here).
Going back to lovely baseball metaphors… As China has thrown yet another pitch; will Vietnam get another strike, or will they be able to score a base hit?
Article for you to read here “Vietnamese officials decry presence of offshore Chinese rig in disputed, oil-rich stretch of sea” (Al Jazeera)