Nov 09, 2019 / 09:45

Vietnam should be tougher in South China Sea issue: Int'l experts

The Hanoitimes - International cooperation to some extent will force China to restrain its activities in the South China Sea.

Vietnam needs to let the whole world know what happens in the South China Sea (SCS) to gain international support in the issue which has become complicated due to Chinese assertiveness.

 A Vietnamese soldier stands watch overlooking the South China Sea. Photo: Internet

Hanoi should speak louder of the situation in which its sovereignty has been violated, longstanding oil operations have been harassed, and fishermen are in distress at sea, a number of international experts told Hanoitimes at the 11th South China Sea International Conference concluded earlier this week.

Dr. Stanley Byron Weeks, Senior Analyst, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC): China continues to pressure, coerce, and bully other claimants, especially Vietnam. The situation will continue so it requires Vietnam and other countries to keep stance on the sovereignty protection.

Vietnam should partner with big countries because free navigation in the SCS remains concerned. The country should also take a good chance in the ASEAN Chairmanship 2020 to unify the bloc’s member states, he added.

Sukjoon Yoon, Senior Fellow, Republic of Korea Navy Captain, Korea Institute for Military Affairs: Vietnam should voice louder about violations of its sovereignty and call for support from non-claimant stakeholders, such as Australia, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia, the US, and probably New Zealand. In fact, each has their own reasons for becoming involved in the maritime territorial disputes.

The partnership with other countries like South Korea, for example, will enable Vietnam to reinforce its military strength, including the navy. Efforts to conduct joint patrol with aforementioned nations will signal some messages to China.

Obviously, international cooperation to some extent will force China to restrain its activities in the SCS, the expert stressed.

Dr. Nicola Casarini, Program Asia, Istituto Affari Internazionali, Italy: It’s better if Vietnam and China find some common grounds to solve longstanding issues as the neighborhood is important for the two countries’ stability and development. But dealing with complicated situation, Vietnam needs to have different approaches in solving the South China Sea issues.

The EU is responsible for the situation in the South China Sea and interested in promoting any kind of dialogue and negotiations between Vietnam and China as well as China and ASEAN, for example an ASEAN-China Code of Conduct (COC) in the SCS for peace and stability in the region.

They keep supporting Vietnam in pursuing its stance on the sea, he said.