In the first document, Viet Nam plead with specificity the legal arguments for its opposition to China’s illegal placement of Haiyang Shiyou-981, countering all of the allegations China set forth in its notes dated May 22 and June 9 to the UN Secretary General.
Viet Nam hypothesises that China is wilfully and purposefully escalating tensions in the East Sea by positioning its oil rig in Viet Nam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf where Viet Nam enjoys the rights of coastal countries in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
To enforce the illegal trespass, China has dispatched more than 100 escort vessels, including military ships, into Vietnamese waters ramming and firing water cannons at Viet Nam’s law enforcement boats; wreaking havoc to lives and property, and sinking one Vietnamese fishing vessel.
Viet Nam has spared no effort to defuse tensions and initiate measures to bring about a peaceful resolution of issue through diplomacy and dialogue, but its gestures have been rejected by the Chinese side.
The second document affirms Viet Nam’s sovereignty over the Paracel islands and exposes China’s historical and legal claims of sovereignty over the group of islands (called Xisha in China) as meritless.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs identified with specificity the discrepancies between the historical evidence which is inconsistent with China’s claims regarding the Paracel Islands, specifically pinpointing the Chinese assertions that are unclear, incorrect or arbitrarily interpreted.
Meanwhile, Viet Nam has provided historical documents evidencing that the country established its sovereignty over the archipelago centuries ago, prior to any other nation’s claim.
Viet Nam also provided documentary evidence proving that the archipelago was not delivered to China at international conferences before and/or after the end of World War II, including the Cairo Conference (11/1943), Potsdam Conference (7/1945), the San Francisco Peace Conference (8/1951), and Geneva Conference (1954).
Additionally, the document clarifies that China had used force twice to illegally occupy the Paracel archipelago. Specifically following the French troops’ withdrawal in 1956, China occupied a group of islands east of the archipelago, and the action was strongly protested by the then Republic of Vietnam administration.
In 1974 China again attacked and illegally seized temporary control of the archipelago from the Republic of Viet Nam administration. This was the first time China used military force to occupy the entire archipelago.
From the perspective of international law, the use of force to invade territory of a sovereign nation is illegal and cannot be considered the basis for a sovereignty claim. So, Viet Nam’s sovereignty over the archipelago has been maintained for centuries and cannot be reversed by an illegal Chinese occupation, militarily enforced.
A memorandum dated May 12, 1988 by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs clearly delineates a fundamental principle of international law; which is that sovereignty over a territory cannot be achieved through invasion. No country in the world, absent China, recognizes China’s sovereignty claims over the archipelago.
The second document further clarifies that Viet Nam has never acquiesced to China’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa islands either, and that China is purposefully distorting history and misinterpreting late Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Van Dong’s 1958 diplomatic note and several other materials published in Viet Nam before 1975, to back up its claims. In the 1958 diplomatic note, Dong did not mention the sovereignty over the Hoang Sa or Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos.
Viet Nam has asked China to respect the historical truth.
This is the fourth time Viet Nam has sent a letter to the UN Secretary General, asking it be officially circulated to the members of the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly.