Apart from deploying and stationing its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 deep into Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, China has carried out a number of other illegal actions such as publishing maps claiming all the East Sea and building works to change status quo in the East Sea.

China’s actions to support its sovereignty claims have faced slams from regional countries as well as disapproval from the Chinese people themselves.

China’s recent publication of a new map that shows its 10-dash line claim covering nearly all waters and islands in the East Sea is completely groundless and unacceptable.

In its new map published by Hunan Publishing House on June 25, China brazenly claimed its sovereignty over the East Sea with a 10-dash line encompassing territories just off the coasts of Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei and covering almost the entire the East Sea, which includes Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos of Vietnam and Scarborough Shoal claimed by the Philippines.

With the groundless line, China has attempted to expand its territory to 5,500km in length while being about 5,200km in width.

Moreover, when launching the illegal map, the Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua barefacedly stated that the map will give readers a “comprehensive and intuitive awareness” of China’s entire map and “readers won’t ever think against that China’s territory has primary and secondary claims.”

In reaction to China’s new map publication, the Philippine Foreign Ministry described it as an irrational expansion ambition of China, saying that the ambition has escalated tensions in the East Sea.

Many Chinese people expressed dissatisfaction with the Chinese acts, saying they are erroneous behaviours of the Chinese authorities.

The recent actions also seriously violate the principle of respecting international commitments.

“Pacta sunt servanda” is a basic principle in international law stipulated in Article 2 of the United Nations Charter. Accordingly, all states take obligations to voluntarily implement, show goodwill, honesty and fully take duties to international treaties to which they are a signatory.

The principle is also enshrined in other treaties such as the Vienna Convention of the Law of Treaties (Article 26), the 1970 Declaration on Principles of International Law, and the 1975 Helsinki Accord.

Despite being one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, China does not respect the UN Charter.

As a party to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982), China does not only implement the convention’s regulations in earnest, but also audaciously infringes sovereignty and jurisdiction of Vietnam prescribed in the convention.

In 1992, the Chinese parliament adopted its law on waters and adjacent areas, claiming the 12-nautical miles applied the for archipelagos in the East Sea, particularly Hoang Sa and Truong Sa of Vietnam.

In 1998, China issued a law on exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, which emphasised Hoang Sa and Truong Sa to have their own exclusive economic zones and continental shelves as so-called by Beijing as adjacent waters.

According to the UNCLOS 1982, in the East Sea, only the two archipelagic states, Indonesia and the Philippines, are permitted to draw baselines in accordance with the convention, while other coastal countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and China absolutely do not draw the baseline for archipelagos. Therefore, the law of China affirming the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf for Hoang Sa and Truong Sa is groundless, not only violating Vietnam’s sovereignty over the two archipelagos, but also running counter to the convention on the way to draw baseline.

In addition, China disregards the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) that it signed with ASEAN countries in 2002. In the DOC, both sides reaffirmed their commitments to goals and principles in the UN Charter, the UNCLOS 1982 and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) and principles in international law.

Hence, China’s recently actions, which include adding Hoang Sa and Truong Sa to its system for new land use right registration and building a series of works to change the status quo on banks and reefs in the East Sea, seriously flouted principles of respecting international commitments, especially the UN Charter, UNCLOS 1982 and DOC.

Once again, the actions expose China’s ambition to monopolise the entire East Sea.

In recent years, China has boosted its site activities to realise its cow-tough claim in the East Sea. On June 3, 2007, the State Council of China ratified the establishment of a so-called Sansha city belonging to Hainan province to manage Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (called Xisha and Nansha by China).

The country also adopted a series of legal documents to complete the state apparatus on its sea and island management, while unilaterally imposing a fishing ban in the East Sea during the peak season since 1992.

China has been more aggressive and has taken more prolonged fishing ban in two-thirds of the East Sea, covering the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa areas which are the traditional fishing grounds of Vietnamese fishermen.

In addition to the illegal placement of drilling oil Haigyang Shiyou-981 deep into Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, the above-mentioned actions are considered a new step of escalation in its strategy to realise its “cow tough claim” with a long-term scheme of monopolising the East Sea.-VNA