The so-called “nine-dot” line China has drawn by itself in the East Sea to claim waters is the main cause of all issues leading to escalating tensions in the East Sea, including its illegal installation of an oil rig in Vietnam’s waters, a Vietnamese official affirmed at an East Sea seminar in Washington, the US, on June 3.

Hoang Anh Tuan, head of the Institute for Foreign Policy and Strategic Studies under the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, said that China has no legal foundation to vindicate this line, as well as no effective administrative management of it.

Tuan called on the international community and relevant countries to demand China give a clear explanation for its claim, adding that once the world sees the illegality of the “nine-dot” (or “U-shaped”) line, tensions in the region can fade away.

Prof. Aileen Baviera from the University of the Philippines criticised China’s unilateral acts when using both civil and armed forces to practice sovereignty within the “nine-dot” line.

Meanwhile, Robert Daly, Director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States, stated that China has ignored or intentionally misunderstood international law, and refused to respect regulations globally accepted.

Regarding solutions to the East Sea issue, delegates stressed the importance of ASEAN and support from major countries, including the US, in reaching a consensus and helping solve disputes.

ASEAN member countries should swiftly finish negotiations on a Code of Conduct in the East Sea and work out a mechanism to ensure its effective implementation, they said, demanding China’s media provide a sound and fair viewpoint on tensions and territorial disputes in the East Sea.

Talking with Vietnam News Agency correspondents, Tuan stated that China’s illegal placement of its Haiyang Shiyou-981 drilling rig deep inside Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf has violated international law and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea.

Vietnam has carried out all measures, peaceful but resolute, to force China to remove the rig, but the country has failed to respond to this legitimate demand, he said, adding that Vietnam is considering taking China to the international court.

As of June 3, the rig remained at 15 degrees 33 minutes 36 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 34 minutes 11 seconds east longitude. The location is 25 nautical miles from Tri Ton Island in Vietnam’s Hoang Sa archipelago, completely within Vietnam’s continental shelf.

Chinese ships around the rig have repeatedly rammed and fired water cannons into Vietnamese coast guard and fisheries surveillance ships which are carrying out their law enforcement missions in the country’s waters, leaving many Vietnamese ships damaged and officers injured.-VNA