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New edition of VPDF pamphlet on South China Sea published
A second edition of the VPDF pamphlet on South China Sea issues, with additional information updates since its 2011 Vietnamese-language edition, has just been published.
After a brief foreword, the publication carries 18 items, 4 more than the first edition, namely:
1. Position and importance of the East Sea
2. The East Sea’s importance to Vietnam
3. Vietnam’s waters in the East Sea
4. Delimitation of marine boundaries with neighboring countries.
5. Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Hoàng Sa (Paracel) and Trường Sa (Spratly) archipelagos
6. Vietnam’s stand on peaceful settlement of disputes in the East Sea
7. Vietnam’s stand on maintenance of peace and stability in the East Sea
8. Vietnam’s stand on promotion and full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), and advance toward a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC)
9. Vietnam’s stand on the “U-shaped line” claim in the East Sea
10. Vietnam’s stand on the lawsuit brought to the UN arbitral tribunal by the Philippines against China
11. Vietnam’s stand on the idea of “shelving disputes and seeking joint development” in the East Sea.
12. Vietnam’s stand on Vietnamese fishermen’s activities in the Hoàng Sa (Paracel) area
13. Vietnam’s stand on certain fundamental aspects of the East Sea issue
14. On China’s illegal placement of oil rig in Vietnamese maritime areas
15. Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC)
16. ASEAN’s Six-Point Principles on the South China Sea
17. Joint statement of the 15th ASEAN-China Summit commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) (November 19th, 2012)
18. Agreement between Vietnam and China on basic principles guiding the settlement of sea-related issues (October 11th, 2011).

The text of the pamphlet reads in full as follows:


FOREWORD

Over recent times, the situation in the East Sea  has remained laden with complicated developments and tension, threatening regional peace, stability and security, and causing profound concern among public opinion in the region and the world.
In 2012, the Vietnam Peace and Development Foundation published a pamphlet in English titled “Vietnam and the East Sea”. The publication has been warmly received by readers at home and abroad. Many have suggested that it be refreshed and republished to meet demands for updated information concerning the situation in the East Sea from people in the country, Vietnamese overseas and international friends.
Therefore, this second edition of the pamphlet, with amendments to update information on developments in the East Sea since 2012, is published..

The Vietnam Peace and Development Foundation




1. Position and importance of the East Sea
The East Sea is a semi-enclosed sea, encompassing an area of around 3,500,000 square kilometers. Bordering it are 8 ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) and China. It is an area of strategic importance to Asia-Pacific countries and others in the world.
Lying on a maritime artery linking the Pacific Ocean with the Indian Ocean, and Europe and the Middle East with Asia, the East Sea has been considered the second busiest sea lane in the world. Passing through the East Sea are 150-200 ships daily, about 50% of which with a capacity of over 5,000 tons each, and more than 10% of which over 30,000 tons each. Through the East Sea, oil and other commercial materials are channeled from the Near and Middle East and Southeast Asia to Japan, the Republic of Korea and China. Over 90% of world commercial traffic goes by sea, and 45% of which through the East Sea. Thus, the Sea is of tremendous importance to many countries, especially those in the region, in terms of geo-strategy, security, maritime communication, and economy.
The East Sea holds huge marine reserves, living things (aquatic products) and non-living things (oil, gas, minerals) alike, vital to life in coastal countries and their economic development. It is seen as one of the five largest oil and gas basins of the world. Continental shelves with great oil and gas potentials include those in Brunei-Sabah, Sarawak, Malaya, Pattani Thai, South Côn Sơn, and the Mekong River, Red River and Pearl River estuaries. According to foreign reports, there may be considerable deposits of gas hydrate, too.

2. The East Sea’s importance to Vietnam
Vietnam has a 3,260-km coastline and over 4,000 islands, including 2 offshore archipelagos – the Hoàng Sa (Paracel) and the Trường Sa (Spratly). Of the 63 provinces and province-equivalent cities of Vietnam, 28 border the sea. The East Sea has not only supplied marine products for coastal inhabitants for thousands of years, but also provided Vietnam with conditions to develop local economies, outlets to regional and international markets, channels for exchange and integration with other cultures, and a crucial defense line.
Economically, the East Sea facilitates the development of Vietnam’s cutting-edge industries, such as aquaculture, oil and gas, maritime communication, shipbuilding and tourism. The natural conditions of the coasts offer Vietnam’s maritime communication tremendous potentials: ten deep-water and numerous medium-sized ports, with a total capacity of 50 million tons of cargoes a year.
Marine resources abound in the East Sea. In Vietnamese waters, some 11,000 living species have been identified, including 6,000 species of benthos, 2,400 species of fish (130 with commercial value), 653 species of seaweeds, 657 species of zooplankton, 537 species of phytoplankton, and 225 species of shrimps. Fish reserves are estimated at 3.1-4.1 million tons, of which 1.4-1.6 million tons are exploitable. The abundant marine resources have helped make aquaculture a leading economic sector ranking third in the country in terms of export value.
Oil and gas represent the largest natural resource in Vietnam’s continental shelf. Many deposits have been identified as potentially sizeable and conveniently exploitable, such as in the Cửu Long and South Côn Sơn basins.
Vietnam’s waters provide favorable conditions for developing tourism, already a significant contributor to the country’s economy. 
Besides, in coastal areas lie large potentials of sandy minerals, such as titanium, zircon, zin, gold, iron, manganese, kaolin, and rare earth. 
In terms of national security and defense, the East Sea plays a very important role as the country’s eastern and southeastern defense line. The islands and archipelagos in the East Sea, especially the Hoàng Sa and Trường Sa, are of great significance not only to overseeing maritime traffic in the East Sea but also to ensuring Vietnam’s strategic security.

3. Vietnam’s waters in the East Sea
a. Legal framework for Vietnam’s waters
The Vietnamese State has promulgated many sea-related legal documents, such as the Statement of the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam dated May 12th, 1977 on its territorial sea, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf; the Statement of the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam dated November 12th, 1982 on the baseline from which the breadth of its territorial sea is measured; the Law on National Borders, the Maritime Law, the Petroleum Law; and Government Decrees detailing the treatment of administrative offences in activities related to the sea, such as environment, aquaproducts, maritime communication, oil and gas, and national security and defense in Vietnamese waters.
On June 21st, 2012, the National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, XIIIth Legislature, 3rd Session, adopted the Law of the Sea of Vietnam, with 7 chapters and 55 articles.
Chapter I: General provisions
Comprises 7 articles providing for the scope of this law; legal application; terminology; principles of management and protection of the sea; policy on the management and protection of the sea; international cooperation on maritime matters, state management of the sea.
Chapter II: The maritime zones of Vietnam
Comprises 14 articles providing for establishment of the baseline; internal waters; legal status of the internal waters; territorial sea; legal status of the territorial sea; contiguous zone; legal status of the contiguous zone; exclusive economic zone; legal status of the exclusive economic zone; continental shelf; legal status of the continental shelf; islands and archipelagos; the internal waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of islands and archipelagos; legal status of islands and archipelagos.
Chapter III: Operations in maritime zones of Vietnam
Comprises 20 articles providing for general provisions; innocent passage in the territorial sea; obligations while conducting innocent passage; sea lanes and traffic separation in the territorial sea for innocent passage; temporary suspension or restriction of innocent passage in the territorial sea; foreign military vessels and government vessels coming to Vietnam; responsibilities of foreign military vessels and government vessels in the maritime zones of Vietnam; operation of foreign submarines and other underwater vehicles in Vietnam’s internal waters and territorial sea; criminal jurisdiction over foreign vessels; civil jurisdiction over foreign vessels; communication in ports, piers or docks of Vietnam; search and rescue; artificial islands, installations or structures at sea; preservation and protection of marine resources and environment; marine scientific research; acts forbidden in the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of Vietnam; ban of illegal stockpiling, use or trafficking of weapons, explosives and toxic substances; ban of trafficking in persons, unlawful trafficking; transporting or stockpiling of narcotics; ban of illegal broadcasting, the right of hot pursuit.
Chapter IV: Maritime economnic development
Comprises 5 articles providing for principles of maritime economic development; development of maritime economic industries; planning for maritime economic development; building and development of maritime economy; incentives and investment preferentials for economic development of islands and maritime economic activities.
Chapter V: Sea patrol and surveillance
Comprises 3 articles providing for sea patrol and surveillance forces; duties and scope of responsibility of sea patrol and surveillance; flag, uniform and badge.
Chapter VI: Handling of violations
Comprises 4 articles providing for escorting and location for settlement of violations; preventive measures; notice to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; handling of violations.
Chapter VII:  Implementation provisions
Comprises 2 articles providing for entry into effect; guidance of implementation.
b. The baseline and internal waters of Vietnam. 
The baseline used for measuring the breadth of Viertnam’s territorial waters consists of straight baselines as made public by the Government, joining the furthest seaward points of its coastline and the furthest seaward points of its coastal islands. The internal waters of Vietnam are the waters adjacent to the coast on the landward side of the baseline and form part of Vietnam’s territory. The State of Vietnam exercises full, absolute and complete sovereignty over the internal waters as it does over the land territory.
c. The territorial sea of Vietnam has a breadth of 12 nautical miles measured from the baseline. The State of Vietnam exercises its full and integral sovereignty over its territorial sea, the airspace over the territorial sea, as well as its bed and its subsoil. In Vietnam’s territorial sea, foreign ships shall enjoy the right of innocent passage.
d. The contiguous zone of Vietnam is the sea area adjacent to and beyond the territorial sea, and is 12 nautical miles wide from the outer limit of the territorial sea. 
The State exercises its sovereign rights, jurisdiction and other rights in accordance with international law on contiguous zone.
The State exercises control in the contiguous zone to prevent and administer acts of infringement of legislation on customs, tariff, health or immigration committed in the territory or territorial sea of Vietnam.
e. The exclusive economic zone of Vietnam is an area adjacent to and beyond the territorial sea of Vietnam, and integrates with the territorial sea to form a maritime zone extending to 200 nautical miles from the baseline.
In its exclusive economic zone, the State of Vietnam exercises its sovereign rights for the purposes of exploring, exploiting, conserving and managing the natural resources (whether living or non-living) of the waters superjacent to the seabed, of the seabed and of its subsoil. The State of Vietnam exercises its exclusive rights and jurisdiction over other activities for the economic exploration and exploitation of the exclusive economic zone.
In the exclusive economic zone, the State of Vietnam exercises jurisdiction over all scientific researches, and its right to protect the environment from pollution.
f. The continental shelf of Vietnam comprises the seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas that are adjacent to and beyond the territorial sea of Vietnam, and extends to 200 nautical miles from the baseline. In compliance with the stipulations of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Vietnam in 2009 submitted to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf two National Reports on the defined area of continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles: a partial submission related to the North Area, and a joint submission with Malaysia related to the South Area.
In its continental shelf, the State of Vietnam exercises full sovereign rights for the purposes of exploring, exploiting, conserving and managing all natural resources, including non-living resources and living organisms belonging to sedentary species.
The maritime areas of Vietnam as defined in the 1977 Government Statement and the 2012 Law of the Sea fully conform with the provisions of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

4. Delimitation of marine boundaries with neighboring countries.

Due to concrete conditions in the East Sea, Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf overlap those of certain neighboring countries. The overlapping zones are between Vietnam and China in the Bắc Bộ (Tonkin) Gulf and a small area off the Gulf (South of Cồn Cỏ Island and where the coast of China’s Hainan Island lies opposite that of Vietnam’s Quảng Trị province); between Vietnam and Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia in the Gulf of Thailand; and between Vietnam and Indonesia in the South of the East Sea.
These overlapping zones are of bilateral nature. On the basis of stipulations by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Vietnam and some other countries have managed to settle gradually the issue and clearly delimitate the overlapped areas. 
a. Delimitation of sea boundary with Thailand
Talks for the delimitation of overlapping seas between Vietnam and Thailand were conducted from 1992 to 1997. On August 9th, 1997 in Bangkok, the representatives of the Governments of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Kingdom of Thailand signed an Agreement on delimitation of sea boundary between the two countries in the Gulf of Thailand. Since then, naval forces of the two countries have conducted several joint patrols to enhance security at sea. After ratification by both sides, the Agreement has become effective and been deposited at the United Nations.
b. Delimitation of territorial seas, exclusive economic zones and continental shelves with China in the Bắc Bộ (Tonkin) Gulf 
On October 19th, 1993, an Agreement on basic principles for the settlement of border and territorial issues between Vietnam and China was signed, stating: “The two sides shall apply international law, consult international practices, follow the principle of equity, and take into account all related situations in the Gulf to reach an equitable solution”.
From 1992 to 2000, different rounds of negotiations, official and non-official, were held between Vietnam and China at the levels of government negotiation delegations, joint working groups, non-official joint working teams, and experts’ teams. 
On December 25th, 2000, an Agreement on delimitation of territorial seas, exclusive economic zones and continental shelves in the Bắc Bộ (Tonkin) Gulf was signed between Vietnam and China. The two sides were committed to respect each other’s sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the territorial seas, exclusive economic zones and continental shelves in the Bắc Bộ Gulf. In case of stretching-over oil and gas reserves, the two sides shall, through friendly consultations, seek agreement for exploitation and equitable distribution of benefits. After ratification by both sides, the Agreement has become effective and been deposited at the United Nations.
c. Delimitation of continental shelves with Indonesia.
From 1978 to 2003, Vietnam and Indonesia held different rounds of negotiations at the levels of government negotiation delegations, expert delegations, and retreats of Heads of expert delegations. On June 26th, 2003, the representatives of the Governments of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Republic of Indonesia signed an Agreement on delimitation of continental shelves between the two countries. After ratification by competent authorities of both sides, the Agreement has become effective and been deposited at the United Nations.
d. Related transitional agreements
Vietnam and Malaysia have overlapping continental shelves and exclusive economic zones in the Gulf of Thailand. The overlapped area is not large, but have oil and gas potentials. On June 5th, 1992, the two Governments signed an MOU on cooperation for joint exploration and exploitation of the overlapped area as a temporary solution pending a definite delimitation of the boundary. Cooperation shall be realized on the principles of equal share of expenses and equitable distribution of profits; exploration and exploitation operations shall be carried out by Petrovietnam and Petronas on the basis of commercial arrangements. Such arrangements have been signed by the two petroleum corporations. Vietnam and Malaysia shall come to a definitive delimitation of boundary in the overlapped area at a later stage.
Vietnam and Cambodia have overlapping territorial seas, exclusive economic zones and continental shelves in the Gulf of Thailand. In 1982, an Agreement on historical waters was signed between the two countries, stipulating notably: the two sides agree to conduct joint patrol and control in the historical waters; sea fishing there by local people of the two countries shall continue following practices hitherto, while exploitation of other natural resources shall be agreed upon by the two sides, and in case of no agreement, neither side should act unilaterally. Over recent times, naval forces of the two countries have conducted a number of joint patrols in the historical waters.
According to the 1983 Treaty on principles for settlement of border issues between Vietnam and Cambodia, negotiations shall be conducted at an appropriate time for the delimitation of sea boundary between the two countries in these historical waters, in the spirit of equality and mutual respect.

5. Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Hoàng Sa (Paracel) and Trường Sa (Spratly) archipelagos. 
a. Overview of the Hoàng Sa and the Trường Sa 
The Hoàng Sa archipelago consists of over 30 islets, coral reefs, cays, shoals and banks sub-divided into two groups – the An Vĩnh (Amphitrite) Group in the East and the Lưỡi Liềm (Crescent) Group in the West, about 120 nautical miles from Lý Sơn Island (Quảng Ngãi province).
The Trường Sa archipelago consists of over 100 islets, coral reefs, cays and banks, about 248 nautical miles from Cam Ranh (Khánh Hòa province) and 203 nautical miles from Phú Quý Island (Bình Thuận province).
The two archipelagos have as a common geological feature tiny coral island structures. The largest coral island in the Hoàng Sa is Phú Lâm (Woody) Island with an area of about 1.5 square kilometer. The largest coral island in the Trường Sa is Ba Bình (Itu Aba) Island with an area of about 0.5 square kilometer.
b. Vietnam is the first State to have established its sovereignty over the Hoàng Sa (Paracel) and Trường Sa (Spratly) archipelagos, and the only State to have exercised continuous and peaceful administration of the islands in conformity with stipulations by international law.
By the early 17th century, the Hoàng Sa and Trường Sa had been res nullius.  In the first half of the 17th century, the Nguyễn Lords organized the Hoàng Sa (Golden Sand) Brigade, with men recruited from An Vĩnh village, Bình Sơn district, Quảng Ngãi prefecture, to retrieve cargoes from wrecked ships, catch precious aquaproducts, make measurements and drawings, plant trees, and set up landmarks on the islands. In the geographical knowledge of the time, the name Hoàng Sa Archipelago covered both Hoàng Sa (Golden Sand) and Vạn Lý Trường Sa (Ten-Thousand-Mile Sandbank).
In the first half of the 18th century, the Nguyễn Lords organized in additition the Bắc Hải (North Sea) Brigade, with men recruited from Tứ Chính hamlet, Cảnh Dương village, Bình Thuận prefecture, to go to the Trường Sa with the same mission as the Hoàng Sa Brigade. 
The activities of the Nguyễn Lords in the Hoàng Sa and Trường Sa were not only recorded in historical writings by Vietnamese scholars, e.g. Toàn tập thiên nam tứ chí lộ đồ thư (Collection of Route Maps of the Southern Country, Complete Works, 1686) by Đỗ Bá alias Công Đạo, or Phủ biên tạp lục (Miscellany on Pacification at the Frontier, 1776) by Lê Quý Đôn, but also jotted down by foreigners who resided and did business in Vietnam.
In the period of French domination, the French Government further consolidated Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Hoàng Sa and Trường Sa. In 1925 and 1927 in particular, France conducted surveys and patrols in the Hoàng Sa. From 1930 to 1933, French forces were stationed in the Trường Sa. Then, for administrative convenience, France in 1933 merged the Trường Sa archipelago into Bà Rịa province, and in 1938 made the Hoàng Sa an administrative unit of Thừa Thiên province. Furthermore, France set up landmarks, lighthouses, and meteorological and telecommunication stations on the two archipelagos. In international relations, France on many occasions protested against China’s claims over the Hoàng Sa archipelago.
In 1950, France officially handed the administration of the Hoàng Sa archipelago over to the Bảo Đại Government. At the 1951 San Francisco Conference, the representative of the Bảo Đại Government reaffirmed Vietnam’s age-old sovereignty over the two archipelagos without meeting opposition or reservation from any other participant. The Conference also turned down the proposal for Japan’s returning the Hoàng Sa and Trường Sa archipelagos to China. In terms of administration, the Government of the Republic of Vietnam in 1956 placed the Trường Sa under Phước Tuy province, and in 1961 moved the Hoàng Sa from Thừa Thiên to Quảng Nam province.
In the process of liberation of South Vietnam and reunification of the country, Vietnamese naval forces in April 1975 liberated the islands occupied by the Saigon forces, i.e. Trường Sa (Spratly Island), Sơn Ca (Sand Cay), Nam Yết (Namyit Island), Song Tử Tây (Southwest Cay), Sinh Tồn (Sin Cowe Island) and An Bang (Amboyna Cay). Meawhile, the Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG) of the Republic of South Vietnam issued a declaration confirming Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Hoàng Sa and Trường Sa. Ever since, the Vietnamese Government has promulgated important legal documents, reaffirming that the Hoàng Sa and Trường Sa are inseparable parts of Vietnamese territory, and that Vietnam has full sovereignty over these two archipelagos in line with stipulations by international law and international practices.
In terms of administration, in 1982 the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam established the island district of Trường Sa under Đồng Nai province, and the island district of Hoàng Sa under Quảng Nam - Đà Nẵng Province. After an administrative boundary remapping, the island district of Hoàng Sa now belongs to Đà Nẵng City and the island district of Trường Sa belongs to Khánh Hòa province. In April 2007, for more efficient administration, the Vietnamese Government decided to establish in the Trường Sa island district a township (on Trường Sa) and two communes (on Song Tử Tây and Sinh Tồn, respectively).
Thus, Vietnam has ample legal and historical evidence to assert its sovereignty over the Hoàng Sa and Trường Sa. Vietnam is the only State that has occupied and governed the two archipelagos peacefully, continuously, and in accordance with stipulations by international law.

6. Vietnam’s stand on peaceful settlement of disputes in the East Sea
- Vietnam stands for solving all disputes related to the East Sea, including disputes concerning sovereignty over the Hoàng Sa (Paracel) and Trường Sa (Spratly) archipelagos, by peaceful means, in conformity with the United Nations Charter and international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The 1982 UNCLOS is the fruit of a long and arduous process of negotiations and agreement by the international community, including China, Vietnam and other countries bordering the East Sea. Rational and fair, the Convention constitutes an important legal basis for countries concerned with seas and islands.
The above-mentioned stand is reaffirmed by the National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in its Resolution ratifying the 1982 UNCLOS, in other Vietnamese sea-related legal documents, as well as in statements by Vietnamese leaders and representatives at various multilateral and bilateral forums.
- Disputes involving only two countries shall be settled bilaterally between these two countries. 
- Disputes involving more than two countries shall be discussed among the countries concerned. 

7. Vietnam’s stand on maintenance of peace and stability in the East Sea.
- Peace and stability in the East Sea are directly linked to peace and stability of the region and the world. Should conflicts break out in the East Sea, they would negatively affect not only the interests of the 9 countries bordering the East Sea, but also those of many other countries.
- Maintenance of peace and stability in the East Sea is an objective and inevitable requirement for ensuring peace and stability in the region, meeting the common aspirations and interests of the countries bordering the East Sea and many others.
- Therefore, discussions in the framework of ASEAN, ARF, and other sea-related legal forums on peace and stability in the East Sea, as well as other issues of common interest like environmental protection, freedom and safety of navigation, marine scientific research, are inevitable and necessary, and require support and contributions from all countries. Participation and contribution from regional and non-regional countries targeting enhancement of peace and stability in the East Sea are highly valued and always welcomed by ASEAN member states, including Vietnam.

8. Vietnam’s stand on promotion and full implemention of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), and advance toward a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC).
a. The 2002 Declaration between ASEAN and China on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) contains important commitments on maintaining peace and stability in the East Sea, notably:
- The commitment to resolve their disputes in the East Sea by peaceful means, in accordance with principles of international law, the United Nations Charter, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and the five principles of peaceful co-existence;
- The commitment to refrain from activities that would complicate the situation in the East Sea, including refraining from expanding occupation;
- The commitment to intensify efforts to build trust and confidence, to explore or undertake cooperative activities in less sensitive issues, like safety of navigation, scientific research, combating crime, advance toward a Code of Conduct (COC).
b. The working out and signing of the 2002 DOC result from common efforts by both ASEAN and China. They marked a positive and constructive step toward maintaining peace and stability in the East Sea. Not only the ASEAN member states, China and other regional countries but also many others in the world (the United States, Australia, Russia, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, etc.) have expressed high appreciation of and warm support for the DOC. Many have called upon ASEAN countries and China to enhance efforts toward full implementation of their commitments, and realization of a Code of  Conduct in the South China Sea (COC).
c. The 2002 DOC was signed by the representatives of the governments of China and ASEAN member states. Therefore, both ASEAN countries and China have the responsibility to implement fully the stipulations of the DOC and to work for a COC. Leaders of both ASEAN member states and China have affirmed their commitments to implement the DOC. The 18th ASEAN Summit in Jarkarta (May 2011) reconfirmed the determination to realize a COC in 2012 on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the signing of the DOC.

9. Vietnam’s stand on the “U-shaped line” claim in the East Sea.
 a. China’s “U-shaped line” (or “Nine-dash Line”) claim in the East Sea was officially raised in May 2009 by the Chinese Permanent Mission to the United Nations protesting against Vietnam’s submission to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf of two National Reports on the defined area of continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the baseline.
b. This absurd “U-shaped line” claim, which covers nearly 80% of the East Sea and has been drawn arbitrarily, vaguely and without coordinates, is completely void of legal basis and historical grounds, because:
- It runs counter to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to which China is a party; the waters claimed by the “U-shaped line” cannot be China’s territorial waters, or exclusive economic zone, or continental shelf.
- The “U-shaped line” has never been mentioned in any Chinese document concerning the law of the sea.
- The claim has been dismissed by countries bordering the East Sea and non-regional countries alike.
- The claim encroaches upon the exclusive economic zones and continental shelves of Vietnam, the Philipines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. 
c. Since China raised this claim at the United Nations, there have been objections from regional and non-regional countries. A few examples:
- Just one day after China raised the claim at the United Nations, Vietnam sent a note to the UN Secretary General, officially rejecting it. Vietnam has also reaffirmed its position through statements by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in contacts with the Chinese side at different levels.
- In July 2010, Indonesia sent to the United Nations a note protesting against China’s “U-shaped line” claim.
- In April 2011, the Philipines also sent a note to the United Nations objecting the Chinese “U-shaped line” claim. Senior leaders of the Philippines have reiterated this objection on various occasions.
- In a note to the UN Secretary General, Malaysia has dismissed China’s note to which was attached a “U-shaped line” map.
- Scholars from various countries (the USA, France, Belgium, Indonesia, etc…) have underlined the illegality of the “U-shaped line” claim. At international conferences as well as in scientific studies, researchers have emphasized that China should clarify the basis of the claim.
China’s establishment (on June 21st, 2012) of the so-called “Sansha city” covering also Vietnam’s Hoàng Sa and Trường Sa archipelagos with a maritime area of over 2 million square kilometers (basically as the “U-shaped line” claim) is a grave violation of Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Hoàng Sa and Trường Sa archipelagos and has no legal value.

10. Vietnam’s stand on the lawsuit brought to the UN arbitral tribunal by the Philippines against China 
Vietnam has been informed that on January 22nd 2013, the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines delivered a note verbale attached with a Notification and Statement of Claims to the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Philippines initiating arbitral proceedings against the People’s Republic of China under Annex VII UNCLOS and on April 24th, 2013 the President of ITLOS appointed arbitrators to serve as members of this arbitral tribunal.
As a coastal State enjoying lawful and legitimate national rights and interests in the East Sea, Vietnam is interested in and closely follows the development of these arbitral proceedings. Vietnam has the full legal and historical foundation as well as the effective administration affirming its sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its maritime zones established in accordance with UNCLOS, other international treaties and agreements to which Vietnam is a contracting party, and Vietnam’s legal instruments.
Vietnam will apply all necessary and appropriate peaceful means to protect its sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction as well as other lawful and legitimate national interests in the East Sea in full conformity with the United Nations Charter, international law and UNCLOS.
Vietnam reaffirms its sovereignty over the two archipelagos of Hoàng Sa (Paracel) and Trường Sa (Spratly) as well as its sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction in its own internal waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in the East Sea.
Vietnam requests all parties concerned to implement seriously  and fully the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) signed in 2002 between the ASEAN members states and the People’s Republic of China and the Joint Statement of the 15th ASEAN - China Summit commemorating the 10th anniversary of the DOC, and hopes that the ASEAN member states and China will soon start official negotiations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC).
 
11. Vietnam’s stand on the idea of “shelving disputes and seeking joint development” in the East Sea.
- Vietnam does not accept the idea of “shelving disputes and seeking joint development” in its 200-nautical mile continental shelf and exclusive economic zone, wherever there is no overlapping with any other country’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone. The simple reason is that wherever there is no overlapping, there cannot be any dispute, and another country has no reason to ask for “shelving disputes and seeking joint development” on Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.
- In cases of other countries’ continental shelves and exclusive economic zones overlap those of Vietnam, Vietnam could join other parties concerned in discussions for joint development as a temporary solution. In fact, Vietnam and Malaysia have agreed to exploit jointly oil and gas in the small overlapped area of their continental shelves in the Gulf of Thailand. Eventually, the two countries shall jointly delimitate definitely the sea boundary in this overlapped area.

12. Vietnam’s stand on Vietnamese fishermen’s activities in the Hoàng Sa (Paracel) area.
- The Hoàng Sa (Paracel) and Trường Sa (Spratly) archipelagos both belong to Vietnam. For a long time, Vietnamese fishermen have been fishing normally in the Hoàng Sa area.
- Over recent years, the Chinese side has on many occasions committed seizures, illtreatment, confiscation of equipment, and imposition of heavy fines against Vietnamese fishing vessels and fishermen, who were fishing as usual in the Hoàng Sa area. In November 2013, the authorities of Hainan province, China, enacted so-called “Measures to implement the Fisheries Law of the People’s Republic of China”, which came into effect on January 1st, 2014 and according to which foreign fishing vessels entering waters under Hainan province’s administration (covered by the “U-shaped line” claim) should require permission from the local authorities, without which they would be sanctioned under special treatment stipulations. Such moves by China have violated the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea; violated Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Hoàng Sa and Trường Sa archipelagos, and Vietnam’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction in the East Sea.
- Vietnam firmly demands that the Chinese side respect Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Hoàng Sa archipelago, refrain from harassing Vietnamese fishing vessels and fishermen, and adhere to the shared perception not to complicate the situation in the East Sea.

13. Vietnam’s stand on certain fundamental aspects of the East Sea issue
- First, it should be made clear that the East Sea issue has different aspects: i) maintenance of peace and stability in the East Sea and freedom of navigation; ii) implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea signed by both ASEAN and China in 2002; and iii) sovereignty disputes over the Hoàng Sa (Paracel) and Trường Sa (Spratly) archipelagos.
- In substance, most of these aspects, namely maintenance of peace and stability in East Sea, freedom of navigation, implementation of the DOC, and sovereignty disputes over the Trường Sa archipelago, involve the interests of many countries and maintenance of peace and stability of the region and the world. They are inherently multilateral and international by nature.
- The sovereignty dispute over the Hoàng Sa archipelago alone is a bilateral dispute between Vietnam and China. Vietnam and China should resolve this dispute by peaceful means in accordance with the United Nations Charter. Among peaceful means, negotiations should be given priority; but should negotiations fail to achieve a solution, resort to international tribunals could not be ruled out.
- Vietnam persistently pursues a foreign policy of independence and autonomy, and does not rely on any country against or as a counterweight to any other country. Vietnam is interested in and ready to join all bilateral and multilateral efforts aimed at maintaining peace and stability in the East Sea on the basis of respect for international law and the legitimate interests of all parties concerned.
- Vietnam attaches great importance to relations of friendship and cooperation with all other countries, especially neighbors, including China, on the basis of respect for each other’s independence, sovereignty and territorial intergrity, equality, mutually beneficial cooperation, in the interest of peace, stability and development in the region and the world.

14. On China’s illegal placement of oil rig in Vietnamese maritime areas
On May 2nd, 2014, China moved its deep-sea drilling rig HYSY-981 escorted by many armed vessels, military ships and aircraft into Vietnamese maritime areas, and illegally placed the rig within Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone as defined under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)..
Vietnam was persistent in pursuing dialogues and contacts with China at various levels and in different forms, strongly protesting against China’s wrongdoings. In response to Vietnam’s goodwill, China continued and even expanded its illegal activities, and deployed more ships and aircraft in the area. According to Vietnamese relevant authorities, China maintained the presence of military, coast guard, maritime surveillance, maritime patrol and fishery administration vessels, ironclad fishing ships, and services vessels together with many aircraft around the location of the HYSY-981. Despite the utmost restraint by the Vietnamese law enforcement and civilian ships, China continued to act aggressively as its aircraft and vessels tried to intimidate Vietnamese law enforcement ships by firing high-power water cannons, causing physical damage to many Vietnamese ships and wounded crewmembers on board.
On May 11th, in another resort to resolute means of diplomacy, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng delivered a key address at the 24th ASEAN Summit, stressing that the incident constituted a direct threat to peace, stability, and navigation safety and security in the East Sea. Various official documents of the ASEAN Summit highlighted the East Sea issue. Prior to the Summit, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers had, for the first time since 1995, issued a separate statement on the developments in the East Sea, which clearly displayed the solidarity, centrality, proactiveness, high sense of responsibility and profound concern of ASEAN over peace, stability and security in the region.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has also expressed concern over the escalating tension in the East Sea, and urged all related parties to resolve disputes in a peaceful way, through dialogue and in conformity with international law, including the United Nations Charter.
Vietnam strongly protests against China’s placement of the oil rig deep inside the continental shelf and exclusive economic zone of Vietnam, encroaching upon Vietnam’s sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction. This activity also seriously violates international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), and related agreements between senior leaders of the two countries as well as the Agreement between Vietnam and China on basic principles guiding the settlement of sea related issues. 
While countries within and outside the region are working hard to seek peaceful solutions to disputes and promote active and substantive consultations for a Code of Conduct (COC), China’s moves have complicated the situation and seriously affected peace, stability, safety, security and freedom of navigation, as well as cooperation and development in the region. Vietnam resolutely demanded that China withdraw the HYSY-981 oil rig and all escort vessels and aircraft from Vietnamese maritime areas, respect Vietnam’s sovereignty, and refrain from similar acts in the future.
On July 15th, 2014, China moved the HYSY-981 out of Vietnamese maritime areas. According to Vietnam’s view, China must not illegally re-place the oil rig and perform actions violating Vietnam’s sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over Vietnam’s waters. Vietnam affirms to protect its sovereignty in accordance with international law.

15. Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) 
The Governments of the Member States of ASEAN and the Government of the People's Republic of China,
Reaffirming their determination to consolidate and develop the friendship and cooperation existing between their people and governments with the view to promoting a 21st century-oriented partnership of good neighborliness and mutual trust;
Cognizant of the need to promote a peaceful, friendly and harmonious environment in the South China Sea between ASEAN and China for the enhancement of peace, stability, economic growth and prosperity in the region;
Committed to enhancing the principles and objectives of the 1997 Joint Statement of the Meeting of the Heads of State/Government of the Member States of ASEAN and President of the People's Republic of China;
Desiring to enhance favorable conditions for a peaceful and durable solution of differences and disputes among countries concerned;
Hereby declare the following:
1. The Parties reaffirm their commitment to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and other universally recognized principles of international law which shall serve as the basic norms governing state-to-state relations;
2. The Parties are committed to exploring ways for building trust and confidence in accordance with the above-mentioned principles and on the basis of equality and mutual respect;
3. The Parties reaffirm their respect for and commitment to the freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea as provided for by the universally recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea;
4. The Parties concerned undertake to resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force, through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned, in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea;.
5. The Parties undertake to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability including, among others, refraining from action of inhabiting on the presently uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, cays, and other features and to handle their differences in a constructive manner.
Pending the peaceful settlement of territorial and jurisdictional disputes, the Parties concerned undertake to intensify efforts to seek ways, in the spirit of cooperation and understanding, to build trust and confidence between and among them, including:
a. holding dialogues and exchange of views as appropriate between their defense and military officials;
b. ensuring just and humane treatment of all persons who are either in danger or in distress;
c. notifying, on a voluntary basis, other Parties concerned of any impending joint/combined  military exercise; and
d. exchanging, on a voluntary basis, relevant information.
6. Pending a comprehensive and durable settlement of the disputes, the Parties concerned may explore or undertake cooperative activities. These may include the following:
a. marine environmental protection;
b. marine scientific research;
c. safety of navigation and communication at sea;
d. search and rescue operation; and
e. combating transnational crime, including but not limited to trafficking in illicit drugs, piracy and armed robbery at sea, and illegal traffic in arms.
The modalities, scope and locations, in respect of bilateral and multilateral cooperation should be agreed upon by the Parties concerned prior to their actual implementation.
7. The Parties concerned stand ready to continue their consultations and dialogues concerning relevant issues, through modalities to be agreed by them, including regular consultations on the observance of this Declaration, for the purpose of promoting good neighborliness and transparency, establishing harmony, mutual understanding and cooperation, and facilitating peaceful resolution of disputes among them;
8. The Parties undertake to respect the provisions of this Declaration and take actions consistent therewith;
9. The Parties encourage other countries to respect the principles contained in this Declaration;
10. The Parties concerned reaffirm that the adoption of a code of conduct in the South China Sea would further promote peace and stability in the region and agree to work, on the basis of consensus,  towards the eventual attainment of this objective.
Done on the Fourth Day of November in the Year Two Thousand and Two in Phnom Penh, the Kingdom of Cambodia. 
      
16. ASEAN’s Six-Point Principles on the South China Sea (July 20th, 2012)
The ASEAN Foreign Ministers reiterate and reaffirm the commitment of ASEAN Member States to: 
1) the full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) (2002); 
2) the Guidelines for the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) (2011); 
3) the early conclusion of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC); 
4) the full respect of the universally recognized principles of International Law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS);
5) the continued exercise of self-restraint and non-use of force by all parties; and 
6) the peaceful resolution of disputes, in accordance with universally recognized principles of International Law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).”

17. Joint statement of the 15th ASEAN-China Summit commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) (November 19th, 2012)
We reaffirm that the DOC signed in 2002 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, is a milestone document which embodies the collective commitment of ASEAN Member States and China to promote peace, stability and mutual trust in the South China Sea. 
We note the progress in the implementation of agreed joint cooperative projects under the DOC, which has contributed to the promotion of mutual confidence, trust and cooperation in the South China Sea. 
We also recognize that the full and effective implementation of the DOC would strengthen the strategic relations and partnership between ASEAN and China, and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the wider East Asian region. 
We reaffirm our commitment to the purpose and principles of the Charter of the United Nations (UN), the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and other universally recognized principles of international law which shall serve as the basic norms governing state-to-state relations. 
We reaffirm our mutual respect for each other's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity in accordance with international law, and the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states. 
We agree to continue to uphold the spirit and principles of the DOC to contribute to the promotion of peace, friendship, mutual trust, confidence and cooperation between and among ASEAN Member States and China. 
We reaffirm our commitment to the principles of the DOC by undertaking to:

- Continue to fully and effectively implement the DOC;

- Carry out agreed joint cooperative projects and activities in accordance with the Guidelines for the implementation of the DOC;

- Continue to cooperate to enhance maritime security, including to ensure freedom of commerce, safety of navigation and maritime traffic, in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS;

- Continue to encourage the parties concerned to resolve territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force, through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned, in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS;

- Continue exercising self-restraint by all parties concerned in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability including, among others, refraining from action of inhabiting on the presently uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, cays, and other features and to handle their differences in a constructive manner;

- Keep the momentum of dialogue and consultation to enhance trust, confidence and cooperation, and work together for the adoption of a code of conduct in the South China Sea on the basis of consensus.
 
18. Agreement between Vietnam and China on basic principles guiding the settlement of sea-related issues (October 11th, 2011)
1. Taking the general situation of the two countries’ relationship as the key, originating from a strategic and overall attitude under the guidance of the motto “friendly neighborliness, comprehensive cooperation, long-term stability and looking toward the future” and the spirit of “good neighbors, good friends, good comrades and good partners”, and persistently pursuing friendly talks and negotiations to properly settle sea-related issues, thus making the East Sea a territory of peace, friendship and cooperation and contributing to the development of the Vietnam-China comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, as well as to regional peace and stability.
2. In the spirit of fully respecting legal evidence regarding other relevant factors such as history, and at the same time taking into account each other’s reasonable concerns with a constructive attitude, striving to expand common perceptions, narrow differences and continuously accelerate negotiations. Based on a legal regime and principles defined by international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, making efforts to seek basic and long-term solutions acceptable to both sides for sea-related disputes.
3. In negotiations on sea-related issues, the two sides seriously abide by agreements and common perceptions reached by their high-ranking leaders and seriously implement the principles and spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). 
For sea-related disputes between Vietnam and China, the two sides shall solve them through friendly talks and negotiations. Disputes also relating to other countries shall be settled througth negotiations with other concerned parties.
4. In the process of seeking basic and long-term solutions for sea-related issues, in the spirit of mutual respect, equal and mutually beneficial treatment, the two sides actively discuss transitional and temporary measures that do not affect the stances and policies of the two sides, including studies and discussions on cooperation for mutual development based on principles described in Article 2 of this Agreement.
5. Addressing sea-related issues in succession and progress with easy issues first and difficult issues later. Firmly speeding up the demarcation of territorial waters off the Tonkin Gulf and actively discussing cooperation for mutual development on these waters. Actively boosting cooperation in less sensitive fields, such as sea-related environment protection, sea-related science research, search and rescue at sea, and prevention and minimization of damage caused by natural disasters. Attempting to enhance mutual trust to facilitate the settlement of more difficult issues.
6. The two sides in turn conduct periodical meetings between heads of government-level border negotiation delegations twice a year and extraordinary meetings if necessary. The two sides agree to set up a hotline mechanism between the government-level delegations to exchange and properly deal with sea-related issues in a timely manner.

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