A number of scholars and researchers at French universities and research institutes have expressed their concerns over the ongoing East Sea tension, sparked by China’s provocative acts in the East Sea , at a round table recently held in Paris.

Addressing the June 25 conference on security in Southeast Asia and the East Sea, Professor Rommel Banlaoi , Director of the Philippine Centre for Intelligence and National Security Studies (CINSS), said the security is alarming due to the Chinese provocative acts in the East Sea, especially its dispatch of its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou - 981 deep inside Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

Banlaoi affirmed the Chinese acts infringe upon international norms which it is a signatory, including the 1982 United Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC). He added that all acts of China aim to realise its wicked intention of occupying the whole East Sea through its groundless nine-dash claim.

The professor stressed that hegemonism and the use of violent acts are not a key to any solution for the tension but may cause counter-productive impact, underlining the need to hold dialogues participated by stakeholders.

He made it clear that China must seriously respect its commitments to regional and global communities while ASEAN countries should increase solidarity and mutual collaboration to handle the issue.

China needs to remember a fact that Vietnam never gives way in safeguarding its benefits and national sovereignty over sea and islands, the professor noted.

A declaration on the East Sea issue, recently made by the EU, does not sufficiently reflect its power and position, he said, adding that without more drastic activities, the bloc’s interests in the East Sea will be affected if China continues to gradually realise its wicked intention towards the sea.

China is prepared to do anything to show that it is powerful country, disregarding interests of others, Marie-Sybille de Vienne, professor at the Paris-based National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilisations (INALCO) and Director of the Centre for South and Southeast Asian studies, said o n the sidelines of the conference.

She further said China must prove more responsible for easing the East Sea tension and incline towards peaceful measures to tackle the disputes.

At the beginning of May 2014, China illegally dispatched the rig as well as a large fleet of armed vessels, military ships and aircraft to Vietnam’s waters and positioned the rig at 15 degrees 29 minutes 58 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 12 minutes 06 seconds east longitude, 80 miles deep into Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

Despite Vietnam’s protest, China expanded its scale of operation and moved the rig to 15 degrees 33 minutes 36 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 34 minutes 11 seconds east longitude, 60 nautical miles deep inside Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.-VNA