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Foreign scholars, experts comment on Chinese oil rig

VGP – During the past months, many foreign experts and scholars voiced their concern over China’s illegal placement of Haiyang Shiyou-981 oil rig in the East Sea.

June 03, 2014 10:18 AM GMT+7

A China's Coast Guard Ship is firing water cannon at a Vietnamese vessel right in Viet Nam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf

The following are some of their comments

Italian scholars

Many Italian scholars have slammed China’s recent moving of an oil rig into Viet Nam waters, stating that Beijing is deliberately escalating tension that will threaten peace, security, stability and maritime safety in the region.

They expressed their disapproval at a workshop in Rome on May 7 after Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Hoang Long made an account of what has just happened in the East Sea.

Some voiced that as a member of the G7 group linking seven industrialized nations, Italy should take a certain role in easing the tension in the East Sea, along with the international community.

Mr. Holly Morrow, from Harvard University’s Belfer Center

“Regardless of how much energy actually lies under the ocean, Beijing's heavy-handed approach to regional relations and the damage it has caused could hardly be worth tapping some extra barrels of oil for.”

Dr. Subhash Kapila from South Asia Analysis (ASAG)

“China has once again endangered security and stability in the maritime expanse of the East Sea region.”

According to Dr Kapila, China’s moves are part of a calculated strategy and more provocative behavior and brinkmanship by China in the East Sea can be expected.

Australian policy experts

Many analysts from Australia have raised their objections to China’s placement of a massive oil rig, accompanied by a large fleet of vessels, in Viet Nam’s waters.

The Interpreter, a paper organ of the Lowy Institute for International Policy, on May 9 posted an article arguing that politicians from the US should be concerned about the economic and security threats posed by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).

Earlier on May 8, The Interpreter also posted the opinion of Malcolm Cook, former East Asia Program Director at the institute, who confirmed that China’s acts run counter to the spirit and contents of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) which China signed with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2002.

Cook said China’s movement of the rig into an oilfield close to Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago might negatively affect the solidarity among ASEAN members and damage trust in the DOC, which offers an important diplomatic channel to settle territorial disputes between China and the bloc.

Mr. Mosyakov from Russian Center Director for South-east Asia, Australia and Oceania

Mr. Mosyakov called upon China to stop oil and gas operations in Viet Nam's waters and avoid a similar mistake it made in 1992, according to the Voice of Viet Nam (VOV).

In articles published on New Oriental Outlook and Multipolar World magazines, Mosyakov said China’s intentional act was one of its following steps towards claiming its sovereignty in the East Sea that was leading a dramatic escalation in the region.

He explained China’s decision had not only complicated the situation but run counter to on-going efforts to strengthen friendship and cooperation between China and Southeast Asian nations.

Dr. Gerhard Will from Southeast Asia at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs

Dr. Gerhard Will criticized China’s illegal placement of the Haiyang Shiyou – 981 drilling rig in Viet Nam’s exclusive economic zone.

In an interview granted to the Viet Nam News Agency in Germany, Dr. Gerhard Will said that China’s deed violates the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).

According to him, the act constitutes a serious setback in the efforts to diminish disputes in the East Sea as well as the implementation of the DOC signed by China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

China’s deed is unbeneficial to its political and economic ties with its southern neighbors while seriously damaging its relationship with Viet Nam, he noted.

Mr. Vinod Anand, a senior expert of the New Delhi-based Vivekananda International Foundation

China’s illegal placement of a drilling rig in Viet Nam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in the East Sea infringes upon the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The act also violates Viet Nam’s sovereignty, stated Mr. Vinod Anand during his talks with the Viet Nam News Agency in New Delhi, India on May 12.

China’s illegal placement of the Haiyang Shiyou – 981 oil rig escorted by a fleet of ships, including military vessels, and military jets in Viet Nam’s waters is an aggressive act, which could escalate tensions and be detrimental to peace and stability in the region, the expert said.

The Indian expert said that the ASEAN member countries should reinforce their solidarity and work with the international community in asking for China’s participation in a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

Mr. Mass Boup, an expert on politics and development for Africa, Caribbean, the Asia-Pacific and the European Union

In an interview with a Viet Nam News Agency reporter on May 14, Mr. Mass Boup described this act as part of China’s politically-driven scheme against its neighbors, adding that it is unacceptable.

He called on regional countries to stand united against China’s territory encroachment which, he said, has run counter to international law and posed danger to the world as well.

China needs to sit down with ASEAN member states to reach a peaceful solution, he noted.

Experts from Japan

China will suffer from diplomatic losses rather than gains from its illegal positioning of an oil rig in Viet Nam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone, according to experts from Japan and the Republic of Korea (RoK) in recent interviews granted to Viet Nam News Agency correspondents.

Dr. Tomotaka Shoji from the Japanese Defense Ministry’s National Institute of Defense Studies said that China’s act is part of a strategy to raise its influence and control over the East Sea.

French professor

Professor Michel Henry Bouchet at Skema Business School (France) has stated that China’s decision to move its giant state-owned oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 in the East Sea has less to do with an oil exploration strategy than with a strategic push to assert its territorial claims in the region.

Professor Bouchet said in an interview published in the Saigon Times Daily on May 21 that China’s “provocative behavior” challenges not only Viet Nam but, more broadly, ASEAN-Western geopolitical stakes.

“Indeed, China’s move challenges the cornerstone of global diplomacy, namely freedom of navigation, peaceful resolution of conflicts, and non-use of coercion,” said the professor.

France’ IRIS Director

Director of the French Institute for International and Strategic Relations (IRIS), former Air Defense General Jean-Vincent Brisset has suggested that Viet Nam bring China to the international arbitration court as an effective way of dealing with China’s violation of international law.

Indian scholar

In an article published in the English language daily Viet Nam News on May 27, Avilash Roul (Ph.D.), Senior Fellow at Society for the Study of Peace and Conflict (SSPC), India, said China is a true case of showing off muscle power in its influence without respecting international accepted norms.

Swiss lawyer

Viet Nam should bring the case of China’s illegal installation of the oil rig Haiyang Shiyou – 981 in its continental shelf and exclusive economic zone to the United Nations Security Council and international tribunals, a Swiss lawyer has advised.

In a talk with a Geneva-based Viet Nam News Agency correspondent on May 28, Pierre Schifferli criticized China’s unilateral move as a threat to peace and legality of international law.

He affirmed that based on his study of legal foundations relating to Truong Sa (Spratly) and Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelagoes, relevant international conventions and historical events, he thought China’s sovereignty claim has no legal grounds.

According to the lawyer, arguments by China to justify its claim are merely requests without any documents. Meanwhile, Viet Nam has sufficient legal and historical evidence proving its sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes, he said.

Indian scholar

A scholar from an Indian independent, non-profit and apolitical research center has accused China of escalating tension in the East Sea by its deployment of drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 and a large number of various ships there.

“With the deployment of the US$1 billion oil rig platform 'Haiyang Shiyou-981', China has chosen to sharply escalate tension in the region,” Jayadeva Ranade, President of the Center for China Analysis and Strategy (CCAS), has told a Viet Nam News Agency correspondent in New Delhi./.

By Thuy Dung