7 - 12 - 2019 | 12:00
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Home Database ENGLISH SCS WORKSHOP
ENGLISH SCS WORKSHOP

DocumentsDate added

Order by : Name | Date | Hits [ Descendent ]

Dr. Tran Cong Truc, MEASURES FOR MAINTENANCE OF PEACE, STABILITY AND ENHANCEMENT OF COOPERATION ON THE SOUTH CHINA SEA ( translated version)

"...The territorial dispute over the Paracels involves Vietnam and China. This dispute arose at the beginning of the 20th century (in 1909), starting with the brief visit by Commander-in-Chief Ly Chuan to some islands with a short landing on Woody island. This was precisely because the archipelago was under the control and management of France, whose troops were staying in solid garrisons, with facilities in service of the management by the French authority then continuing exercising, on behalf of Vietnam, sovereignty over the Paracels and Spratlys dating back at least to the 17th century. In 1946, taking advantage of the disarmament of the Japanese troops, the Chinese government sent its troops to occupy the eastern part of the Paracels but then had to retreat when Kuomintang was driven out of the mainland to Taiwan. In 1956, taking advantage of the French withdrawal from Indochina under the Geneva Agreement, and the Vietnamese government’s failure to take over the Paracels, the People’s Republic of China sent its troops to reoccupy the eastern part of the Paracels. In 1974, upon learning that the Sai Gon government’s troops were on the verge of collapse and American expeditionary force was forced to leave South Vietnam, with tacit approval of the American about China’s freedom of action (laisser faire), the People’s Republic of China sent its troops to the western part of the Paracels to seize Sai Gon-held islands. Vietnam, as the state having sovereignty over the Paracels, opposed or publicly protested against each and every move by China. It is “the first State in history to occupy and exercising sovereignty, the occupation exercise are real, peaceful, and in conformity with international law and practices”. Ever since China has made feverish efforts to consolidate and build the Paracels into a vital military base, a springboard for its southwards movement..."

Dr. Tran Truong Thuy, COMPROMISE AND COOPERATION ON THE SEA: THE CASE OF SIGNING THE DECLARATION ON THE CONDUCT OF PARTIES IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA

"...Although a binding code of conduct had been considered the primary goal, ASEAN eventually accepted a political document due to the differences among its member countries over national interests and priorities in foreign policies in general and with regard to China in particular. The DOC, therefore, was not a document to resolve territorial disputes but to create a friendly environment through confidence-building measures and cooperation activities for a long-term solution.

The DOC, however, indicated a change in China’s approach to the South China Sea dispute. Although China insisted on its sovereignty over the disputed areas and favoured bilateralism in the settlement of the issue, it was prepared to participate in multilateral mechanisms to enhance its role, maximize its profit and sow division in a possible anti-China coalition in the region. China accepted legally non-binding regulations to protect its fundamental interests.

A relatively ‘softer’ China’s policy toward the South China Sea might be resulted from certain factors, including i) ASEAN’s consensus and unity; ii) an increasing engagement from outside forces, especially the United States, in the South China Sea issue; and iii) China’s need to project a good image and promote its relations with other countries in the region..."

Gen. (rtd.) Daniel Schaeffer, RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA – IMPLICATIONS TO PEACE, STABILITY AND COOPERATION IN THE REGION

To fix a 1st marker, I shall depart from the Cairo declaration dated 27 November 1943. After the meeting between Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Chiang Kai-shek, it had been declared that "all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Formosa, and the Pescadores, shall be restored to the Republic of China". No mention was made of the Paracel and the Spratly islands for the simple reason that, at the time, these islands were still under the French colonial administration exerting sovereignty over them on behalf of the Emperor of Annam.

As a matter of fact, as far as the Spratlys are concerned, we must remember that in 1930, on the 13th of April, the French Navy, on behalf of the French government and using all the procedures internationally recognized at that time, took officially possession of the Spratlys and declared French sovereignty over them. The French Navy reiterated the gesture in 1933 with an expedition identical to the one of 1930. From that time on, which we must emphasize here, France never officially abandoned, nor renounced its sovereignty over the Spratly islands. This, in these conditions, introduces a specific legal case. As Monique Chemillé-Gendreau clearly explains it in her work, France has not lost her rights over the Spratly islands since France has not yet made act of dereliction. That means France never pronounced any abandonment of sovereignty. If actually, on the one hand, France discontinued, from 1954 on, administering the archipelago, on the other hand she has not officially renounced her animus possidendi. Thus, formally, France must be considered as not having lost its rights over the territory. This is a very important point to be stressed upon. The French unclear position over the Spratlys’ status consequently and unfortunately opened the way to the present discord about the islands. This is a second marker..."
Since time immemorial, SCS has provided the stage for maritime trade and movements of people that significantly shaped the socio-political, cultural, economic and strategic landscape in the regions surrounding it.  Put it simply, SCS acts as a palette that provides the colors that help paint the picture of the littoral areas.
Being a sea that sits along a key trade lane and borders many countries featuring hundreds of millions of people along its coasts, the multifunctional role of the SCS as a strategic sealane, a facilitator of economic growth and a provider of resources and livelihood is paramount.  On account of these, it is crucial to preserve safety, security and prosperity in the sea not only from an economic perspective but also from an environmental point of view.  The sea cannot afford to be a theater of conflict that will threaten the economic interests of the littoral nations and the international community, nor can it be a platform for rapacious exploitation of its natural riches that will degrade its environment.  A full blown military confrontation in the sea would only result in the intervention by outside powers keen to capitalize on such situation in the name of creating ‘balance of power’ in the region.
It is therefore crucial that the conflicts arising from the overlapping claims in the sea settled in an amicable way.  To this end, all diplomatic channels must be exhausted and nations must behave in such a manner that disputes do not become overblown to full scale conflicts.  It would serve anyone’s interest to have a South China Sea that is wrought of conflict and is heavily militarized.  This would hamper trade flow in its crucial shipping lanes and would cause adverse effect to the livelihood of people, not to mention of the threat that it would be to the vulnerable ecosystem of the sea.  In the same token, other maritime security threats such as pollution, illegal fishing, piracy, smuggling and even terrorism must also be addressed and contained to ensure that the sea is meets the needs of its littoral states and is kept open and safe for international use..."
"...It is my firm belief that China does not consider the claimants as its military foe or adversaries. Nevertheless, China will continue to issue diplomatic demarches and protest notes for activities which it considers to be an infringement of its sovereignty. In the same vein, I expect the claimants will also continue to complain and protest against China’s activities in the South China Sea. Such protest notes and counter protests are not likely to result in any military showdown. Protest notes are not only essential for domestic consumption but also for foreign policy purposes.

But the real challenge, in my view, is to recognize that the new geo-political landscape in the South China Sea has changed with the emergence of China as an economic and political power; although China’s military might is nowhere that of the United States, it is the strongest military power in the South China Sea.

Beijing is acutely aware of the limits of the utility of using force in international relations especially at a time when its rise is shrouded with suspicion; it will not undertake any military misadventure against the claimant state. Hence, some form of modus Vivendi with the claimant states is desirable; the present status quo of co-existence in a Chinese Lake which allows the claimant states some space in expressing their respective national positions in a peaceful manner (like making diplomatic protests) provides political stability in the South China Sea.

Within these parameters, it is quite safe to be swimming in the Chinese Lake."
Page 3 of 6

Language

South China Sea Studies

Joomla Slide Menu by DART Creations

Special Publication

 

Search

Login Form

Subscribe form

Top Photo Galleries

Web Links

VIETNAM MOFA SPOKESPERSON

 

NATIONAL BOUNDARIES