• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 12:38pm

Beijing takes South China Sea oil rig dispute with Vietnam to UN

'Position paper' on rig’s operation sent to Secretary general Ban Ki-moon asking UN chief to circulate it to the 193 members of the General Assembly

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 June, 2014, 9:26am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 June, 2014, 1:54pm

China took its dispute with Vietnam over its deployment of an oil rig in contested waters to the United Nations on Monday, accusing Hanoi of infringing on its sovereignty and illegally disrupting a Chinese company’s drilling operation.

Deputy ambassador Wang Min sent a “position paper” on the rig’s operation in the South China Sea to Secretary general Ban Ki-moon on Monday and asked the UN chief to circulate it to the 193 members of the General Assembly.

China sent the rig into disputed waters on May 1, provoking a confrontation with Vietnamese ships, complaints from Hanoi, and street protests that turned into bloody anti-Chinese riots. Hundreds of factories were damaged and Beijing said in the paper that four Chinese citizens were “brutally killed” and over 300 injured.

The oil platform is located about 32km from the China-controlled Paracel Islands, which Vietnam also claims, and 278km from the coast of Vietnam.

According to the paper, the state-run China National Offshore Oil Corporation has been conducting seismic operations and well site surveys in the area for the past 10 years and the drilling operation “is a continuation of the routine process of explorations and falls well within China’s sovereignty and jurisdiction.”

Beijing accused Vietnam of “illegally and forcefully” disrupting the rig’s operation by sending armed ships and ramming Chinese vessels.

“Vietnam also sent frogmen and other underwater agents to the area, and dropped large numbers of obstacles, including fishing nets and floating objects, in the waters,” it said.

The paper said Vietnam’s actions violated China’s sovereignty, posed “grave threats” to Chinese personnel on the rig and violated international laws including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

It cited numerous references to back its claims that the islands “are an inherent part of China’s territory, over which there is no dispute.”

China has occupied the Paracel Islands, which it calls the Xisha Islands, since 1974, but they are also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam. Vietnam calls them the Hoang Sa Islands.

Vietnam, which has no hope of competing with China militarily, said soon after the US$1 billion deep sea rig was deployed that it wants a peaceful solution, but a top official warned that “all restraint had a limit.”


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This article is now closed to comments

A Kuro
China's ownership of the Paracel Islands are very well established under International Law. In 1974 China took back these islands for the then renegade South Vietnamese government which was illegally occupying it after inheriting from the French colonialists. The North Vietnamese government who were then the prostitutes of the Chinese, acknowledge and agreed to the Chinese possession of the islands. That also means the current Vietnamese government must adhere to the previous North Vietnamese position. So the current Vietnamese government that have betrayed it's original stand and challenging China's sovereignty over the Paracel Islands are breaking not only International Law but also the laws of Vietnam.
Daniel Lee
Beijing taking the South China Sea oil rig dispute with Vietnam to UN will certainly give China wide support among the Un as the actions of the Vietnamese have been very aggressive and lawless. It is probably the prelude to even stronger actions by the Chinese authorities against the unending violations of Chinese territory by Vietnam.
This article should also mention that the islands were taken by force to which no nation has recognized China's sovereignty over these islands
If Vietnam does file a case with the ICJ, than China should meet Vietnam in court. If China's claims are so true and dear to the people of China, than they should have no problem in putting forward their claims of ownership of the islands.
But of course China won't dare go to court, as there is no legal or historical truth to what China has said. I don't blame the general population of China as they have been told lies to by their leaders.
Well, the british empire took a lot of places by force. No one suggests they cough up.
To save further troubles, just accuse it possessing WMD and then take it. See how US did it beautifully with no international complaints.
China, pls,,stop playing victims. If you dare, take Vietnam to legal actions, surely you will lose as your claims has no base and proof evidence supported.
If these islands are very well established as China's ownership, than they should have no problem going to court to settle the matter. This would actually be in China's favor if they went to court and won, Vietnam would be forced to honor this ruling.
The question is, why does china refuse to go to court with the Philippines? if Vietnam was to bring China to court, it is also very doubtful they would attend.
If China's sovereignty is indisputable than going to court will be a cake walk and they shouldn't worry. In my opinion, China actually doesn't care about international law. Under international law, China has no basis for a claim hence why they don't go to court. Very simple.
Regarding the North position during the war, one persons letter respecting the 12nm territorial integrity doesn't amount to recognizing these islands to be of Chinese sovereignty.
Very simple logic. I'm not sure if anyone has actually read the letter and understand what context it was written.
I would also like to add that the islands did not belong to the North at the time, so the letter had no legal merit even if it clearly stated Chinese sovereignty over the islands. You cannot give something that you don't actually have. Using deadly force to claim sovereignty is illegal in international law, so what happened in 1974 amounted to an invasion, hence why no nation recognizes China's sovereignty over these islands
A lot of flawed logic the CCP has been feeding its citizens.
The UN will give China strong support! I doubt it.
58 of the 64 nations who signed the San Francisco Peace Treaty voted against allowing China to take control over the Paracel Islands after WW2.
Very misleading headline.
Has China asked the UN to adjudicate the dispute? Unfortunately not.
Is China moving away from its insistence on dealing only with each nation on a one-on-one basis? Again, I don't think so.
For those who still don't get it... Let me explain again: if you have the power and might, you can do whatever you want. It's called Natural Selection (by Darwin).
International laws are totally irrelevant and useless. If you are foolish enough to believe in that stuff, then you will often be disappointed, confused, and angry...



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