|Delegates on the sidelines of the conference
Talking with reporters on the sidelines of the 11th South China Sea International Conference in Hanoi on November 6 and 7, Carl Thayer, Emeritus Professor at the University of New South Wales, Australia, said Vietnam should also make the most of the ASEAN chairmanship in 2020 to take the lead in raising voices against China’s unsuitable actions in the waters.
Thayer said China is promoting its nine-dash line claim in an attempt to unilaterally conquer the South China Sea to serve its ambition to become a rising power in Asia.
Sharing this view, Greg Poling, Director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the US-based Center for Strategic & International Studies, said by making the nine-dash line claim, China is attempting to prevent Southeast Asian nations, including Vietnam, from carrying out oil and gas projects in the South China Sea.
China wants to force the regional nations to either stop exploration for oil and gas in the South China Sea or partnering with Chinese companies, Poling elaborated.
The expert said China has sent more and more ships to the South China Sea and chased vessels and fishermen of other countries away from the waters. These are not actions of a nation that wishes to partner with regional states, he said, adding that China is seeking to force other countries to do what it wants.
To cope with China’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea, Dr. Tomotaka Shoji from the Japan National Institute for Defense Studies suggested that the observance of international law must be closely monitored not only in the waters but also in any regions in the world.
Nations across the world should step up cooperation with the regional countries and it is necessary to encourage the settlement of disagreements and disputes in the South China Sea and other international oceans based on regulations of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to ensure safety and freedom of navigation and aviation, he said.
Meanwhile, James Kraska, Emeritus Professor at the US-based Stockton Center for International Law, advised the regional nations to put aside disagreements and reach consensus on the settlement of disputes in the South China Sea.
The regional states should also expand commercial, diplomatic and military ties with outside nations to gain wider support from the international community to oppose China’s violations of international law, he added.