China is engaged in a long-term and consistent campaign of coercing Southeast Asian countries to abandon their legitimate rights in the East Sea, according to an American scholar.
Tension has been escalating in the sea since Chinese survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 and its escort vessels returned to Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) earlier this month.
A Vietnam Coast Guard ship is on mission around the DK1/15 oil rig. (Photo: VNA)
China’s behaviour has become more challenging as the country has deployed more ships to the East Sea than before, said Gregory B. Poling, Director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) and a fellow with the Southeast Asia Programme at the US’s Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
In such context, he urged Southeast Asian nations to demonstrate a clear viewpoint in protecting their rights in line with international law.
Echoing Poling’s view, Prof. Stein Tonnesson from the Peace Research Institute Oslo said China deterring regional countries from conducting lawful activities in the East Sea and interfering in Vietnam’s oil and gas mining in its EEZ is systematic. He advised Southeast Asian countries to push for dialogues in order to seek rational and practical solutions for the issues.
As ASEAN Chair next year and a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2020 – 2021 term, Vietnam is positioned to beef up dialogue and negotiation, Prof. Kavi Chongkittavorn, Senior Fellow at the Institute of Security and International Studies, Thailand’s Chulalongkorn Univeristy said./.
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