Professor Carlyle Thayer from the Australian University of New South Wales has suggested that China’s illegal placement of Haiyang Shiyou-981 inside Vietnam’s territorial waters should be referred to the UN Security Council for discussion.

This would create more leverage for the UNSC to ask China to withdraw its drilling rig out of Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone, Radio the Voice of Vietnam (VOV) quoted Thayer as saying at an international workshop in Da Nang, on June 20.

In his presentation, Thayer gave extensive historical evidence proving that Hoang Sa (Spratly) archipelago belongs to Vietnam, reiterating territorial disputes in the region should only be settled through diplomatic channels in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

He recalled the June 9 diplomatic note China sent to UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon, stating the operation of Haiyang Shiyou-981 is part of China’s frequent oil and gas exploration plan in Chinese territory. China even accused Vietnam of disrupting the rig’s operations by deploying armed vessels and encouraging them to ram into Chinese boats.

The Chinese memo fabricates the situation in the East Sea and misleads the wider world as to what is actually happening, said Professor Thayer, calling on the international community to express concern about escalating tensions in the East Sea and urged the UNSC to consider the issue thoroughly.

In his opinion, the US and Australia should play a key role in lobbying the UNSC to hold a debate. He also called on countries that share interests in the East Sea to take part in the debate.

Vietnam should urge the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to have a stronger voice and hasten the drafting of a more legal binding code of conduct (COC) in the East Sea to handle territorial disputes, he said.

In early May 2014 China moved its drilling rig deep inside Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. Chinese ships, including warships, deployed to protect the platform, intentionally rammed Vietnam law enforcement vessels and fishing boats.

China’s actions reflect its brazen moves in the East Sea and are part of Beijing’s pre-meditated plan.

In March 2014 the Philippines filed a lawsuit rejecting China’s nine-dash line that covers more than 80 percent of the East Sea’s area, into the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague announced on June 3 that China once again did not recognise the suit and would not attend any related trial.-VNA