Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi (left) shakes hands with Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (right) at the Vietnamese government's guesthouse in Hanoi on Saturday. Photo: AFP
Hanoi told to halt Xisha hype
No breakthrough was made during the Wednesday meeting of Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, but experts hope tension between the nations will at least ease up.
At Vietnam's invitation, Yang co-hosted the chairmen's meeting of the China-Vietnam Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation in Hanoi, an inter-governmental mechanism set up for coordinating bilateral relations.
He also met with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Communist Party of Vietnam General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong later on Wednesday.
"The difficulties China and Vietnam face at the moment are because Vietnam has continually illegally harassed Chinese drilling operations in the waters near the Xisha Islands for more than a month," Yang said during the meeting with Minh.
FM releases photos of Vietnam ship hitting Chinese patrol vessel
Yang stressed that the Xisha Islands are inherent territory of China and there are no disputes in this area. "The most urgent thing is for Vietnam to stop its interference and harassment, stop hyping up the issue and stop whipping up disagreement to create new disputes, and properly deal with the aftermath of the recent serious incidents of violence," Yang said.
No progress was made during the discussion, as the two sides insisted on their opposing positions, an anonymous Vietnamese official familiar with the talks was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.
Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies in Hainan Province, told the Global Times that it is predictable that Vietnam would insist on its stance as it claimed sovereignty over the Xisha Islands in a law passed in 2012.
"This one-time meeting alone can't solve all the problems the two countries face. However, the fact that these annual meetings have continued in spite of the South China Sea tension is already a good sign. It proves that both sides have a friendly intention to solve the dispute," said Gu Xiaosong, an expert on Southeast Asian studies at the Guangxi Academy of Social Sciences.
These are the highest-level talks between China and Vietnam after relations began to sour over the vessel ramming around the Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig in May.
Vietnamese protests against the oil rig worsened into violent riots against Chinese nationals and businesses in southern and central Vietnam, which led to the deaths of four Chinese nationals. China has since announced the suspension of some bilateral exchange plans.
China's foreign ministry released substantial evidence earlier this month, including an official note from Vietnam's then-premier Pham Van Dong in 1958, to prove that Vietnam acknowledged China's sovereignty over the Xisha Islands and the Nansha Islands at the time. Vietnam later reneged on its words.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Dung said last month that Vietnam was considering legal action against China over the disputed waters.
"Vietnam needs to assess the impact on itself if they sue China, as the [previous] evidence will prove China's claim. Vietnam stands more to lose in a bitter bilateral relationship with China. It should remain calm and exercise restraint to solve the disputes via negotiations," Wu noted. - Global Times
Vietnam says it has evidence to prove its claim in South China Sea but is ignoring own historical documents that vindicate China's position
Vietnam has been using China-Vietnam clashes in the South China Sea, and distorting facts, fanning passions and playing up the "China threat" theory, to vilify China. Ignoring the overall development of Beijing-Hanoi relationship, Vietnam is pretending to be a "victim" in the South China Sea dispute, saying it is prepared to seek international arbitration on the issue.
Vietnamese leaders have said that they have enough historical evidence to justify Vietnam's sovereignty over "Huangsha" and "Changsha" islands, claiming that Vietnam has been the "master" of the two islands since the 17th century. It seems like they have lifted their remarks straight out of a white paper "Truth of China-Vietnam Relationship over 30 Years", issued by the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry in 1979 when bilateral ties were not normal. Worse, almost all the arguments in that 1979 document were copied from a "white paper" issued by the Saigon-based puppet South Vietnam regime (or the Republic of Vietnam) in February 1974.
Now the Vietnamese leaders, using the so-called historical documents, are trying to claim that Vietnam's "Huangsha" and "Changsha" islands are actually China's Xisha Islands and Nansha Islands. The fact is that, the islands recorded in Vietnamese documents refer to some other islands surrounding Vietnam instead of the Xisha and Nansha islands.
To encroach on China's territory in the 1970s, the South Vietnam regime distorted historical facts, which were adopted by later Vietnamese leaders for political purposes. This has complicated the issue and caused serious damage to Sino-Vietnamese ties.
A look at the evidence presented in China's diplomatic documents in the late 1970s and early 1980s will reveal the truth. In fact, even some Vietnamese scholars have said that the documents cited by Vietnam to claim sovereignty over the Xisha and Nansha islands are not genuine historical records but edited versions of originals, confirming China's sovereignty over the islands.
Vietnamese leaders said China forcibly occupied the entire "Huangsha Islands" in 1974, which were then controlled by the Saigon regime. The Saigon regime had kicked up a row over the naval battle that broke out in 1974 in the waters around China's Xisha Islands and sought military support from its ally, the United States, and requested the UN Security Council's intervention. But neither the US nor the UN Security Council acceded to the Saigon regime's request. This means the international community, including the US, has never believed in Vietnam's complaints or claims.
On Sept 2, 1945, Ho Chi Minh announced the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in Hanoi. In January 1950, the People's Republic of China became the first country to establish diplomatic relations with Ho Chi Minh-led Vietnam. For China and a vast majority of the other countries, the government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (later the Socialist Republic of Vietnam), was (and has been) the only legitimate government of Vietnam, and the government of South Vietnam, a puppet regime installed by French colonialists and American imperialists.
So now, about 39 years after defeating the Americans, why does the Socialist Republic of Vietnam want to use the Saigon regime's claim to create trouble in the South China Sea? Aren't the current Vietnamese leaders betraying Ho Chi Minh and other freedom fighters, profaning the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of their compatriots who laid down their lives to resist foreign aggressors, and negating the valued support of their allies in the battle against colonialism by citing the comprador Saigon regime's claim?
The Vietnamese government must not violate the principle of estoppel in the Xisha and Nansha islands' sovereignty issue. Vietnamese leaders claim that no country recognizes that the Xisha and Nansha islands belong to China. This is a brazen lie, because the Democratic Republic of Vietnam topped the list of countries that accepted China's sovereignty over the islands.
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam's position was unequivocal in the 1950s and 1960s. The position remained unchanged even after the death of Ho Chi Minh and the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. Documents with the Chinese Foreign Ministry from the 1970s and 1980s show the position of the Ho Chi Minh-led Vietnamese Communist Party on the Xisha and Nansha islands. The most important of these documents is a note given by former Vietnamese premier Pham Van Dong to Zhou Enlai and the declaration of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1965.
On Sept 4, 1958, the Declaration of the Government of the People's Republic of China said that the breadth of the territorial sea of the country shall be 12 nautical miles and that this provision should apply to all territories of the PRC, including all the islands in the South China Sea. On Sept 14, 1958, Pham Van Dong solemnly stated in his note to Zhou Enlai that Vietnam recognizes and supports the Declaration of the Government of the PRC on the country's territorial sea. On Sept 22, 1958, the diplomatic note was publicly published in Nhan Dan, the official newspaper of the Vietnamese Communist Party.
On May 9, 1965, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam issued a statement on the US' definition on the "theater of war" in Vietnam. The statement said that by defining the whole of Vietnam and the waters up to 100 nautical miles off its coast as well as part of the territorial sea of China's Xisha Islands as the operational area of the US armed forces, Lyndon Johnson, then US president, has directly threatened the security of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and its neighbors.
In recent years, however, some Vietnamese government officials and "scholars" have tried to "reinterpret" the two government documents, only to end up making fools of themselves. And after their attempts failed, the Vietnamese government started pretending as if the two documents never existed.
Vietnam has said that it is fully prepared with historical and legal evidence to prove its claim in the South China Sea, and it is waiting for the appropriate time to take China to the international court of justice. If that is so, then Vietnam should not forget to attach Pham Van Dong's note and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam's statement, as well as the maps and textbooks published by Vietnam before 1975, with its complaint.
By Ling Dequan (China Daily), a researcher with the Research Center of World Issues, affiliated to Xinhua News Agency
Related: China blasts comments on S China Sea controversy
Chinese envoy rebuts Vietnamese, Philippine accusations over South China Sea
Wang Min (L Front), China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, addresses the meeting of state parties to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) at the UN headquarters in New York June 13, 2014. Wang Min on Friday forcefully refuted accusations made by Vietnam and the Philippines against China over the South China Sea situation, holding the two countries responsible for any disputes. He slammed Vietnam and the Philippines for infringing upon Chinese territories. (Xinhua/Niu Xiaolei)
UNITED NATIONS, June 13 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese envoy on Friday forcefully refuted accusations made by Vietnam and the Philippines against China over the South China Sea situation, holding the two countries responsible for any disputes.
At the meeting of state parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) held here, Wang Min, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, slammed Vietname and the Philippines for infringing upon Chinese territory.
Wang said that on May 2, a Chinese company's HYSY 981 drilling rig started its drilling operation inside the contiguous zone of China's Xisha Islands for oil and gas exploration. Vietnam sent a large number of vessels, including armed ones, to the site, illegally and forcefully disrupting the Chinese operation for over 1,400 times so far.
"What Vietnam did seriously infringed upon China's sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction, grossly violated relevant international laws, including the UNCLOS, undermined the freedom and safety of navigation in the related waters, and damaged regional peace and stability," said Wang, who also heads the Chinese delegation to the meeting.
In mid-May, with the connivance of the Vietnamese government, thousands of Vietnamese outlaws committed sabotage against foreign companies, including Chinese ones, in Vietnam, brutally killing four Chinese nationals, injuring over 300 others and causing heavy property losses, Wang added.
"Till now, Vietnam still has not responded to our legitimate demand," he noted.
The envoy pointed out that lies can never eclipse truth, nor can publicity stunts provide a legal cloak for illegal actions.
"What Vietnam needs to do now is to respect China's sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction, immediately stop all forms of disruptions of the Chinese operation and withdraw all vessels and personnel from the site, so as to ease the tension and restore tranquility on the sea as early as possible," Wang said.
He reiterated that Xisha Islands are an inherent part of China's territory, and are under effective jurisdiction of the Chinese government.
"There's no dispute about them," he said, pointing to the fact that all the successive Vietnamese governments prior to 1974 had formally acknowledged Xisha islands as part of China's territory since ancient times.
"Now the Vietnamese government is going back on its word and making territorial claims over China's Xisha Islands," Wang said, noting that Vietnam is reneging on its own promises, saying one thing today and denying it tomorrow.
"Our ancestors told us, trustworthiness is of paramount importance in state-to-state relations," he quoted.
"We would like to ask: how could Vietnam be trusted by the international community and how could Vietnam's international commitments be taken seriously in the future?" Wang said, referring to Vietnam's action as a violation of estoppel, a basic principle in the international law.
With regard to all the false accusations made by the Philippines against China, Wang pointed out the root cause of the disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea is the Philippines' illegal occupation of some islands and reefs belonging to China's Nansha islands.
"The Philippines attempts to legalize its infringements and provocations by dragging China into arbitral proceedings," he said. "The Philippines is also trying to win international sympathy and support through deception. This is what the problem is in essence."
The ambassador noted that pursuant to the provisions of UNCLOS, the Chinese government made a declaration in 2006, excluding disputes over maritime delimitation and territorial sovereignty from compulsory dispute settlement procedures.
"As a sovereign state and a state party to UNCLOS, China has the right under international law to do this. China does not accept the arbitration initiated by the Philippines," Wang said, stressing that China's position based on the provisions of the international law will not change.
"China appreciates the efforts made by the majority of ASEAN countries to preserve regional peace and stability," he said. "We will continue working with ASEAN countries to strictly act on the DOC (the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea), promote practical cooperation, enhance mutual trust and jointly uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea."
The Operation of the HYSY 981 Drilling Rig: Vietnam's Provocation and China's Position
China sends note to UN chief to clarify Xisha situation
UNITED NATIONS, June 9 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese envoy on Monday sent a note to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, presenting documents making clear Vietnam's provocation and China's stance regarding the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea.
In the note, Wang Min, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, also asked Ban to circulate the documents, as UN General Assembly documents, among all UN member states. Full story