Vietnam should bring the case of China’s illegal installation of the oil rig Haiyang Shiyou – 981 in its continental shelf and exclusive economic zone to the United Nations Security Council and international tribunals, a Swiss lawyer has advised.

In a talk with a Geneva-based Vietnam News Agency correspondent on May 28, Pierre Schifferli criticised China’s unilateral move as a threat to peace and legality of international law.

He affirmed that based on his study of legal foundations relating to Truong Sa (Spratly) and Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelagoes, relevant international conventions and historical events, he thought China’s sovereignty claim has no legal grounds.

According to the lawyer, arguments by China to justify its claim are merely requests without any documents. Meanwhile, Vietnam has sufficient legal and historical evidence proving its sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes, he said.

Schifferli recommended that Vietnam consider taking the matter to the UN Security Council, which is the body in charge of working out necessary measures in response to acts threatening international peace and security. He stressed that recent moves by China, including the establishment of an air defence zone over the East China Sea and territorial disputes with many neighbouring countries of Japan and the Philippines, manifest an aggressive attitude.

He said if the disputes are brought to international courts, China will be made to understand that it needs to conform to a common standard and to behave in a civilized way in a modern society no matter how strong its army is. Smaller countries, including Vietnam, must utilise the power of justice by submitting the disputes to international courts.

He also hailed the Vietnamese government for exercising its utmost restraint in the issue as well as its response measures in the midst of the tension.

At the same time, the lawyer warned that if China continues to refuse solving disputes through dialogues or taking the issues to international court, the situation would worsen not only for those involved such as Vietnam, Japan, the Philippines and the Republic of Korea, but also for the region as a whole.

At the beginning of May, China illegally dispatched the Haiyang Shiyou-981 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. The location is 80 miles deep inside Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

On May 27, China moved the rig to 15 degrees 33 minutes 22 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 34 minutes 36 seconds east longitude. The new location is 25 nautical miles from Tri Ton Island in Vietnam’s Hoang Sa archipelago and 23 nautical miles east-northeast from the old location, still completely within Vietnam’s continental shelf. With the move, China has kept on violating Vietnam’s sovereign right and jurisdiction.

Vietnam has exercised utmost restraint, shown every gesture of goodwill and exhausted all dialogue channels to communicate with the Chinese authorities of different levels for expressing protest and demanding China to immediately withdraw its rig and armed and military vessels from Vietnam’s waters.

Nevertheless, up to now, China has failed to respond to Vietnam’s legitimate demand. On the contrary, it has been slandering and blaming Vietnam while continuing to escalate the use of force and acts of violation in an increasingly dangerous and serious manner

China’s armed vessels aggressively fired high-power water cannons at and intentionally rammed against Vietnamese public-service and civil ships, causing damage to many boats and injuring many people on board.

Chinese ships have continuously encircled, constrained and driven away Vietnamese fishing boats and even injured Vietnamese fishermen, threatening their lives.

On May 26, Chinese ship 11209 sank a Vietnamese fishing vessel while it was operating normally in its traditional fishing ground near Vietnam’s Hoang Sa archipelago.-VNA