The South China Sea: Chairman's Statement of the 36th ASEAN Summit adopts stronger position

The South China Sea Chairmans Statement of the 36th ASEAN Summit adopts stronger positionAmidst the Covid-19 pandemic, the Vietnamese Prime Minister and ASEAN leaders held the 36th ASEAN Summit online on June 26, 2020. In view of recent complicated developments in the South China Sea, the issue has become an important item discussed by ASEAN leaders and included in the Chairman's Statement expressing ASEAN leaders' concerns over China's activities taking advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to provoke aggression in the South China Sea.

Earlier, on June 24, at the 21st ASEAN Political-Security Community Online Meeting, the Ministers also identified that ASEAN continues to face many complex security challenges, including increasing tension in the South China Sea.

Pondering over Vietnam’s policy versus the East Sea

Pondering over Vietnams policy versus the East SeaBeing an overseas Vietnamese, I have always followed closely the situation in the East Sea with concern and indignation at the ongoing tensions in the East Sea in the recent time. The strategic competition between the United States and China has been taking place in the fiercest manner up to now.

Availing itself of the situation when the whole world is facing the Covid-19 pandemic caused by China itself, the country is now accelerating its hostile activities and repeatedly holding military exercises in the East Sea in attempt to solely occupy it. The United States is determined not to let China “do whatever it wishes to do” in the East Sea. While the United States is focusing its efforts to respond to the pandemic, it is still strengthening its presence in the East Sea through deploying warships (aircraft carriers, missile-guide frigates, coast combat ships, landing ships, submarines, advanced surveillance aircraft, strategic bombers…) to operate in the East Sea. Of late, there were two major drills involved two aircraft carriers, namely USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan, right after China started its military exercise in the Hoang Sa archipelago of Vietnam in early July.

Is Peking paying for its errors?

Is Peking paying for its errorsSince 1978, although China has registered miraculous growth rates over the 40 years of door opening reform to turn China’s economy into the second biggest economy in the world, but its miscalculations and missteps at present have forced it into a position to pay for that.

The guideline of “hiding for opportunity” and the policy of “black cat and white cat” put forth by Deng Xiaoping when he initiated the reform and door-opening are the cause of economic achievements over the last four decades, which are admired by the whole world. After becoming the “supreme” leader of China in 2012, Xi Jinping soon revealed his ambition of making China a hegemonic power of the world as in the “China dream”. China has now formally moved out the stage of “hiding for opportunity”. The aggressive behavior and the contempt towards the international community, trampling upon the international law has placed China in a position to confront the whole world.

Differences between the United States and China on South China Sea issue

Differences between the United  States and China on South China Sea issueThe strategic competition between the United States and China in the South China Sea has been getting tougher and tougher. Given the recent mutual criticism by both sides and the deployment of most advanced weapons to the area, the holding of military exercises, consequently more tensions have been added to the situation there.

Nonetheless, there are fundamental differences between the United States and China on the South China issue, which are manifested by both words and actions. Let us look at every dimension of the issue.

  1. 1.On views and legal aspect

Beijing deflects conflicts outwards, threatening the entire region

Beijing deflects conflicts outwards threatening the entire regionThe US-China trade war in the last two years has caused many difficulties for the Chinese economy. The Covid-19 outbreak since late 2019 in China has made it even harder. For the first time, China recorded negative GDP growth rate in the first quarter of 2020, which decreased by 6.8% compared to the 4th quarter of 2019. Dozens of millions of Chinese people lost their job. The dissatisfaction within Chinese society, as well as the increasing criticism and denouncement against President Xi Jinping and the Beijing authority has been attributed to economic difficulties, and the Beijing authority's irresponsibility and lack of transparency in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Furthermore, Beijing has to deal with challenges from Hong Kong and the Uyghurs issue in Xinjiang. In terms of foreign affairs, the fact that the China-originated Covid-19 pandemic has caused approximately 20 million infected cases with the death toll rising to nearly half-million on global scale, and China's behaviour amid the crisis has added to the rise of anti-China sentiment worldwide. Given the mounting challenges and difficulties from both internal and external environments, the authority in Beijing is now seeking for a way to deflect internal conflicts outwards, challenging the entire region.

Australia officially gets in the legal battle on the South China Sea

Australia officially gets in the legal battle on the South China SeaOn July 23rd, the Permanent Mission of Australia to the United Nations (UN)submitted Note Verbale 20/026 to reject the maritime claims by China in the South China Sea, highlighting Australia’s involvement in the legal battle on this area. On the next day, Australia’s note verbale was published on the website of the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS).

This note verbale was submitted to the UN 10 days after the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made his statement. Accordingly, Australia shares the view on the South China Sea with the US and ASEAN countries, which upholds the rule of law and the maintenance of the rules-based order in the South China Sea. Similar to the US’ note verbale of June 1 and July 13 statement, the Australian note verbale was grounded in the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 12 July 2016 PCA award on the South China Sea initiated by the Philippines, which rejects China’sclaims on “maritime rights and interests” based on “historic practice” as well as those not in line with the UNCLOS provisions.

The Truth About The South China Sea: A Voice From Vietnam (Part III)





The truth about the SCSSovereignty and territorial disputes have existed between many countries and in many parts of the world. Diplomatic and legal measures have always been considered appropriate for their peaceful settlement. However, in the case of the South China Sea, such processes have faced with numerous obstacles, mainly due to China’s position.

Difficulties in "diplomatic and legal processes" or the issue of "do-not-dispute sovereignty"

The best solution that should always be given priority is direct negotiation between the disputants. It is by this way that Vietnam and China have solved satisfactorily the problem of land border delimitation and issues concerning the Bắc Bộ (Tonkin) Gulf.

Taiwan says China behind cyberattacks on government agencies, emails

Tw says China behindTAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan said on Wednesday hacking groups linked to the Chinese government had attacked at least 10 government agencies and some 6,000 email accounts of government officials in an “infiltration” to steal important data.

Democratic Taiwan has been urging its people to be alert for what officials call “omnipresent infiltration” from China, involving from Beijing-backed media campaigns to cyberattacks, against the island that China considers its territory.

“Chinese hacking groups have been infiltrating government agencies and their information service providers for a long time,” said the deputy director of the Taiwan Investigation Bureau’s Cyber Security Investigation Office, Liu Chia-zung.

China says latest U.S. sailing near Taiwan 'extremely dangerous'

China says latest U.S sailingBEIJING (Reuters) - China’s military said on Wednesday the latest U.S. navy sailing near Chinese-claimed Taiwan was “extremely dangerous” and stirring up such trouble was in neither country’s interests.

The U.S. guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin sailed through the narrow and sensitive Taiwan Strait on Tuesday, the U.S. navy said, in what have become relatively routine trips in recent months, though they always anger China.

The Eastern Theatre Command of China’s People’s Liberation Army said its air and naval forces followed and monitored the U.S. ship throughout its voyage.

South China Sea: after all its posturing, the US is struggling to build a coalition against China

South China seaAs tensions continue to mount in the waters surrounding the contested islands of the South China Sea, a US navy aircraft carrier conducted exercises in the region on August 17. This came after the Trump administration hardened the US’s longstanding neutral position on China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea.

In May 1995, following China’s occupation of Mischief Reef in the South China Sea – which is also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan – the US announced that it would take “no position on the legal merits of the competing claims to sovereignty over the various islands, reefs, atolls and cays in the South China Sea”.

But the US has not remained neutral on how the multiple disputes in the region should be managed or resolved – something we’ve written about in a recent book.

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