Monday, 16 Sep 2019
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US House calls on China to stop bullying Vietnam in South China Sea

Updated at Saturday, 27 Jul 2019, 15:15
The Hanoitimes - "I call on China to immediately withdraw any and all ships from the territorial waters of its neighbors, and to put an end to these illegal bullying tactics,” said Eliot L. Engel, chairman of the US’s House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
The US House Committee on Foreign Affairs has called on China to “immediately withdraw” all ships from the territorial waters of Vietnam and stop bullying its neighbor as Vietnam and China have been embroiled in a standoff in the South China Sea (SCS) for weeks.
 
Rep. Eliot Engel. Photo: Zach Gibson/AFP/Getty Images
Rep. Eliot Engel, chairman of  the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Photo: AFP
China deployed survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 and escort vessels to Vietnam’s waters in the southern part of the SCS in flagrant violation of Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf.

“China’s recent aggression in the South China Sea is a disturbing demonstration of a country openly flouting international law. Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, China’s actions constitute a violation of Vietnamese sovereignty and its legitimate rights within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Just as importantly, China’s behavior threatens the interests of US companies operating in the area,” said Eliot L. Engel, chairman of the US’s House Committee on Foreign Affairs, in a latest statement.

Engel noted that since reports broke last week that Chinese oil exploration ships have entered Vietnam’s EEZ, Vietnam has made repeated requests for their removal - requests that China has willfully ignored. “This kind of harassment is a threat to Vietnam and evidence of China’s willingness to bully its neighbors. Incidents like this demonstrate China’s blatant disregard for international law and diplomacy.”

“I stand with Vietnam and our regional partners in condemning this aggression. The international community must continue to uphold the rules-based order and international law. I call on China to immediately withdraw any and all ships from the territorial waters of its neighbors, and to put an end to these illegal bullying tactics,” he concluded.

Shortly after Vietnam’s protest, the US Department of State on July 20 expressed its concern about reports of China’s interference with oil and gas activities in the SCS, including Vietnam’s long-standing exploration and production activities.

“The United States firmly opposes coercion and intimidation by any claimant to assert its territorial or maritime claims,” the department’s Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said, asking China to cease its bullying behavior and refrain from engaging in this type of provocative and destabilizing activity.

Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated on Thursday that Vietnam resolutely and persistently safeguards its sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction enshrined under the 1982 United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea by peaceful means in accordance with international law.

To this end, Vietnam has delivered diplomatic notes to oppose China’s violations and demanded China to immediately withdraw its violating vessels from Vietnam’s waters, Hang said, adding that Vietnamese authorities at sea have employed a range of appropriate and lawful measures.

She also said all countries within and outside of the region, and the international community alike, share the common interest and responsibility in maintaining peace, stability, freedom of navigation and overflight, the rule of law, respect for sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction of nations enshrined in the 1982 United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea.

Ryan Martinson from the China Maritime Studies Institute at the US Naval War College wrote on Twitter on July 25 that the Chinese survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 continues operations in Vietnam's exclusive economic zone.

 
Graphic shows all activities to date.
Graphic shows all activities of survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 to July 25.
 
Anh Minh
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