Meanwhile, since June 18, 2019, a Chinese ship
equipped with heavy weapons, 35111, has appeared 40 miles to the west of
On July 12, the ship arrived at Fiery Cross Reef,
then returned to its original location in the Vanguard Bank on July 14. This
ship hasn't directly joinef the escorting of Haiyang Dizhi 8, but has been
present for the past month in Vietnam's exclusive economic zone.
While Haiyang Dizhi 8 and escorted ships have been
evading and operating for the last two weeks long in the Vietnamese special
economic zone and the southern continental shelf in the Vanguard Bank area,
on July 17, 2019, the Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said
the Vietnamese government should respect China's sovereignty over some areas
in the East Sea, and the Vietnamese side should also refrain from actions
that will exacerbate the situation in the region.
However, there is a question for him: What
territorial waters does China have in the Vanguard Bank area?
We can affirm that China has no legal waters which
could be the overlapping area, or in dispute with dispute with Vietnam's
exclusive economic zone and the southern continental shelf in the Vanguard
The DK1 rig area, including the Vanguard Bank, is
located within the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone from Vietnam's
baseline, and it is the southern continental shelf of Vietnam.
This is a marine area defined under the 1982 UN
Convention on the Law of the Sea.
This is the Vietnamese territorial waters which are
in no dispute with any other countries, including China.
China shows two factors for claiming its sovereignty
over this area.
The first one is the Chinese drawn the nine dash
The fact that China draws a cow tongue line lapping
over 60 percent of Vietnam's territorial waters, turning the Vietnamese
undisputed into disputed area, is completely illegal, not recognized by the
The ruling of the international arbitral tribunal in
the Philippines case against China, an international legal document guiding,
explaining the 1982 Convention, flatly rejected China's cow-tongue claim.
Although China does not participate in the lawsuit
and claims not to accept the Judgment, this legal document remains its
The judgment of the international arbitral tribunal
in the case of the Philippines suing China, an international legal document
guiding, explaining the 1982 Convention, flatly rejected China's cow-tongue
Although China did not participate in the lawsuit
and stated it won’t accept the judgment, the legal document’s value still
Once the cow tongue line has no legal basis, this
means that it has no value for China to claim the right to exploit resources
in the area.
In other words, China doesn’t have any waters in
dispute with Vietnam in the DK1 area, including the Vanguard Bank.
The second factor reasoned by China is that it
considers the sea as the adjacent area of Chinese islands illegally occupied
by China in Truong Sa (Spratly Islands).
However, even if the islands that China is illegally
occupying ‘belong to Chinese long-standing sovereignty’ as it says, it won’t
be able to claim sovereignty over the surrounding waters, including waters
in the Vanguard Bank.