Current issues in Vietnam
According to The Japan News, Vietnam has filed a legal suit that is aimed at opposing the Chinese claim on the waters that are off the coast of Vietnam. The Vietnamese prime minister said that the country is seeking for the appropriate time to file the motion (Army Times). Taking a legal action is the measure and reaction that the country aims at after a series of disputes between the owners of the waters of the two countries. There is tension and standoff between the two countries after China claimed to have the right to drill oil off the Vietnamese coast. Therefore, the area around the deep sea rig was to be cleared and left alone; warned the Chinese to the Vietnamese. There has been a series of disputes between China and its boarders. However, the recent stale with Vietnam has raised an alarm for a possible conflict between the countries.
The Paracel Islands is where the China has placed an oil rig. However, current news indicate that four days ago, a Vietnamese boat collided with a Chinese ship and sank and this has ignited tension and founded grounds for Vietnam challenging the control of the island by the people’s republic of China. The challenge against China is not only from the Vietnamese, the legal framework follows a suit that was filed to the United Nations concerning the dominion of the China on the shoals of the Philippines coast. Based on this, the people of Vietnam are pressuring their prime minister to respond through a legal action towards the country. A legal move by the country will not only have diplomatic challenges but also economic effects on the country. China is a leading regional trade partner with Vietnam and this means that a legal action on the country will force the country to result to arbitration. This will result in relinquishing the control of the coast and consequently a reduced supply of gas, oil and fish.
An open conflict would have catastrophic economic effects on the performance of the two countries. According to the Dung, the prime minister of Vietnam, approximately two thirds of the world’s maritime trade passes through the South China Sea. This means that a fight over the control and ownership of the region is a global issue more than it is a national concern. 15% of Vietnamese global trade results from trading with China (Army Times). This means that the national sovereignty of the country is more influenced by the economic ties between the two countries. As a result, this puts the prime minister in a tight position; should he grant the wishes of the citizens and proceed with the legal suit or put the interests of the country before-hand? The project growth of the Vietnamese economy by 5.42% as compare to 2013 would be greatly influenced by China (News). However, the dispute in the sea does not augur well with the performance of the Vietnamese economy and drastic measures have to be put in place to ensure that the negative impact experienced in some sectors of the economy is reduced (Army Times).
“Dung calls for a stronger voice against China by the USA” (Nytimes.com). As a super power, the United States is expected to intervene and effect regional stability and peace in a more effective contribution. The actions of China are cited as examples that are destabilizing the region of the southern boarder coast. In its defense, the people’s republic of China claims it wants a “sea of peace, friendship and cooperation” (Reuters). However, the recent act and claims of control of the southern China sea can be termed as acts of violence that are destabilizing national and international cooperation. Vietnam has been pushing for a diplomatic approach towards solving the issue of control in this region. It demands that the Chinese government withdraw its armies and the oil rig placed within the region. Other countries that have a political impact within the region have not been left behind in the quest of addressing the issue. According to the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, his country is committed to “thoroughly maintain the freedom of navigation and freedom of the flight. (Shimbun)”
History may be at the verge of repeating itself. In 1979, Vietnam was at loggerheads with the Chinese regarding a boarder war. Analysts predict that in order to curb this from recurring, legal action by Vietnam has to be relinquished. According to the culture of the east, legal action means that the two countries are “no longer good friends” (Press). China is adamant and believes that it has the right to defend it boundaries and interests. According to Chinese nine dash line publication of 1940s, the region extending off the coast of Borneo belongs to China as it claims sovereign power over the Paracel Islands (Shimbun). However, the map was redefined in 1982 giving Vietnam and Philippines a led in the region. This was further ratified by China in 1996 with redefinition of non-living resources and exclusive economic zones. China has continuously been seen to take control of small parts of the east sea especially after gaining control of the Scarborough Shoal (The New Zealand Herald).
In conclusion, a question of what is the Chinese endgame arises. Political and territorial analysts argue that the ultimate goal of the country is to displace the dominant military power of the United States in the region (Shimbun). This will ensure that the country will have not only territorial dominance, but also economic and cultural influence within the region. There is little hope of China relinquishing control of the region. This makes the world wonder whether this is the country’s approach towards being a super power; gaining a small piece at a time.
Army Times,. 'Vietnam Accuses China Of Sinking Fishing Boat'. N. p., 2014. Web. 31 May. 2014.
News, Bloomberg. 'Vietnam Prepares Suit Against China In Spat Over Oil Rig'. Bloomberg. N. p., 2014. Web. 31 May. 2014.
Nytimes.com,. 'Log In - The New York Times'. N. p., 2014. Web. 31 May. 2014.
Press, Associated. 'China Insists It Has Right To Put Rig Off Vietnam'. Fox News. N. p., 2014. Web. 31 May. 2014.
Reuters,. 'Vietnam, China Trade Accusations After Vietnamese Fishing Boat Sinks'. N. p., 2014. Web. 31 May. 2014.
Shimbun, The. 'Vietnam Set To Issue Legal Challenge Against China'. The Japan News. N. p., 2014. Web. 31 May. 2014.
The New Zealand Herald,. 'Why China Is Putting An Oil Rig Off Vietnam Coast - Business - NZ Herald News'. N. p., 2014. Web. 31 May. 2014.