Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sea and islands sovereignty: When the top leader states


In the public expectation , today (11/25/2011) Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has just concluded his presentation at the National Assembly  at 11h20. The important thing lies  not in the event itself  but in its content, and Prime Minister have well done with this. Just hours after, many "right side" and "left side" online papers simultaneously transmitted content of his speech . The Vn-Express ran an impressiv headline "Vietnam claims the Paracel Islands in peace" with a more clear-cut opening sentence: "Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung stressed that Vietnam must be resolved and confirmed sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) islands that had been forcibly occupied by China in 1974 ".  

According to my knowledge, this is the first time a top leader of Vietnam has made such complete official statement on the country's stance regarding the sovereignty of the two archipelagoes of Hoang Sa and Truong Sa . Objectively speaking, it is a perfect reply of the Prime Minister in front of the National Assembly, particularly when some"strange statements"are heard from a number of officials and MPs that have hurt the public opinion too much. Unlike them,  the Prime Minister  said briefly, but clearly, complete  with  historical evidenceswhen needed. Prime Minister has shown his straight and clear-cut attitude, not babbling when mentioning about the sovereignty of the country, thus significantly helps to calm down the public which is in a pressing situation due to long lack of  transparent explainations from the country's leadership on issues related to territorial and sea islands sovereignty as well as the fate of millions of fishermen suffering  continuos serious acts of violation by the Chinese side. It is worth noting that, unlike those often consider this matter as "delicate", the Prime Minister has not avoided using  concrete terms and specific stances. In the name of a top state leader of Vietnam the  Prime Minister has sent out to the world a clear message about the stance of Vietnam national sovereignty issues associated sea-waters and  islands, including Hoang Sa and Truong Sa . This move is welcome by all the Vietnamese people of and international friends.    

You can read the full text view heard the Prime Minister's speech (in Vietnamese) here:
* Clip : The Prime Minister answered questions on China Sea

Followings are English translations of key contents (in 4 groups of issues) extracted from the speech for your convenient reference.

1) For the overlapping area in the Bac bo Gulf (Gulf of Tonkin),
"In the Bac bo Gulf, after years of negotiations Vietnam and China have achieved a demarcation in 2000. The waters of off-shore the Halong Bay gate, according to Convention of  the Law of the Sea, Vietnam's continental shelf overlaps with that of Chinese Hainan Island. Since 2006 the two sides negotiated until 2009 decided to suspend negotiations due to much different opinions from each other "...;
" Pending an assignment, the two sides have in practice formed  self-management zones on the basis of the middle line "...;
2) For the Hoang Sa islands(Paracel),
"We mastered  Hoang Sa islands , at least from the 17th century when they were  not of any country. We have mastered the islands in practice and continuous peace";

"1974 China forcibly occupied the entire Hoang Sa (then in the control of the Saigon government), the Government of Republic of Vietnam  protested condemning the invasion and proposed the United United Nations to intervene. the Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam was also made a statement denoucing that act of occupation ";

"Our consistent policy is that Hoang Sa islands belong to Vietnam. We have sufficient evidence and legal history to confirm this. But we sponsor policy of negotiated settlement which requires all rights to the islands by peaceful means. This policy is consistent with the UN Charter, in accordance with Law of the Sea Convention ";

3) For the Truong Sa islands (Spretly) ,
" In 1975 the Vietnamese Navy took over the five islands from the management of the military government of Saigon . The sovereignty of Vietnam expand over 21 islands with 33 points stationed and  built 15 rigs  to assert sovereignty in those waters which fall within 200 nautical miles of the continental shelf and exclusive economic zones of Vietnam ";

" Vietnam is the only country that has residents settling down on some islands, including six newly born and raised on the islands ";

4) The dispute resolution policy,
"Vietnam policy strictly follows the Law of the Sea Convention, the DOC and the principles of the agreement recently signed with China. Vietnam requires the parties to keep status quo, not to complicate the situation to affect peace and stability to this region. " Vietnam also continues to invest in upgrading economic infrastructure and technical facilities in places in oder  to keep, to improve lives and strengthen self-defense capability for the military and civilians over the Truong Sa islands " ;

"For the sea waters in the Eas Sea, Vietnam ​​seriously requires the parties to strictly comply with the Law of the Sea Convention of 1982 and declared DOC  to ensure peace, stability, security security and order, freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. This stance of Vietnam was to support the international community, most recently at the ASEAN summit and ASEAN senior partners./.

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