Tag Archives: Vietnam

Hanoi says will persistently protect sovereignty over East Vietnam Sea amid Beijing escalation

Vietnam will resolutely and persistently protect its authority and legitimate rights and interests in the sea, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Le Hai Binh stated at a regular press conference in the capital on Thursday. In response to a Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporter’s question about whether Hanoi would apply more assertive measures to deal with Beijing’s recent actions escalating the situation in the East Vietnam Sea, Spokesperson Binh said that Vietnam, as a nation directly involved in the sea disputes, would always support an amicable settlement as per the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). “Vietnam will defend its sovereignty, rights and interests with peaceful measures, in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations,” he added. Read more: http://tuoitrenews.vn/politics/33560/hanoi-promises-to-resolutely-persistently-protect-sovereignty-over-east-vietnam-sea

Vietnam Adds Military Muscle as South China Sea Tensions Escalate

Vietnam was the world’s eighth-largest arms importer from 2011-2015, leaping from 43rd place in the previous five-year period MANILA—Rising tensions in the South China Sea have turned Vietnam into one of the world’s most active arms importers, with Hanoi buying more weaponry than wealthy neighbors South Korea and Singapore as it tries to counter China’s increasingly aggressive territorial claims. http://www.wsj.com/articles/vietnam-adds-military-muscle-as-south-china-sea-tensions-escalate-1456095603

Vietnam PM wants stronger U.S. role in South China Sea

Vietnam’s prime minister has urged a greater U.S. role in preventing militarization and island-building in the South China Sea, the government said on Tuesday, in a rare call for Washington’s support to curb Beijing’s maritime expansionism. During a summit of Southeast Asian countries in California on Monday, premier Nguyen Tan Dung suggested to U.S. President Barack Obama that Washington uses a stronger voice and “more practical and more efficient actions”, in comments likely to rile China. Tension has spiked since Beijing’s construction of seven islands in the Spratly archipelago. “Prime Minister Dung suggested the United States has a stronger voice and more practical and more efficient actions requesting termination of all activities changing the status quo,” the government said on its news website. The statement did not specifically name China, but it said Dung was referring especially to “large-scale construction of artificial islands” and “militarization”. With a large U-shaped line on its official maps, China claims most of the South China Sea. Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei and Vietnam have rival claims. Obama and allies from Southeast Asia will turn their attention to China on Tuesday on the second day of a summit intended to improve trade and provide a united front on maritime disputes with Beijing. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-asean-vietnam-southchinasea-idUSKCN0VP1L5

How Will New Subs Affect Vietnam’s South China Sea Strategy?

New subs might not be enough for Vietnam to defend its South China Sea claims. The fifth Kilo-class submarine procured for the Vietnamese People’s Navy (VPN) arrived at Cam Ranh Bay at the beginning of February. The Russian-built submarine started its journey from St Petersberg on the 16th of December on the Dutch-registered cargo ship Rolldock Star and arrived late in the night on Tuesday, February 2, according to Thanh Nien News. There are currently four Vietnamese crews, supported by Russian advisers, for each of the existing Kilo-class Type 636 submarines in service with the VPN. Under Vietnam’s expanded relationship with Russia, a purpose-built submarine support facility was included as part of the deal to procure six conventional submarines for the VPN. With the end of this modernization cycle looming on the horizon, however, it remains to be seen how much of an impact these new platforms will have on the security balance in Southeast Asia and, more specifically, the maritime disputes in the South China Sea. Although Vietnam is progressing with its platform deliveries as scheduled, Hanoi has only recently deployed its first fully-operational Kilo-class submarine. In the mean-time it is unclear what impact the new Kilo’s will have on Vietnam’s naval and maritime law enforcement operations in the South China Sea. Even with an operational submarine as a deterrent, there are still significant capability gaps that Vietnamese military planners need to consider. Also, as history has shown, the ability to follow up initial military action with additional forces to solidify victory is essential in the amphibious domain; Hanoi would do well to heed some of the lessons from previous skirmishes with China over land in the South China Sea. This, of course, does not mean that Hanoi needs to pursue a strategy similar to that of China’s. Instead what is important for the rapidly-modernizing country to consider is the requirement for at least some capacity to achieve limited sea control. As some analysts have suggested, platforms such as submarines will not be enough to achieve sea control during conflict. Surface ships, and lots of them, forms an essential element of this facet of military planning despite the vulnerabilities of surface combatants against submarines and long-range missiles. Read more: http://thediplomat.com/2016/02/how-will-new-subs-affect-vietnams-south-china-sea-strategy/

Beaten Up By China For Going Fishing

Vietnamese fishermen say they are being attacked by China with increasing regularity. Their boats have been rammed, equipment broken and crewmen beaten up. Vietnam accuses Beijing of trying to force them out of waters in the South China Sea where their families have fished for generations. As the breaking dawn casts a red-orange rim around the horizon of the South China Sea, Vo Van Giau kneels on the front deck of the fishing boat and locks his hands behind his head. “That is what they made me do,” he says, pushing his head hard down. “Then they beat me with steel rods and a hammer like this.” He pulls a heavy wooden mallet from a bundle of fishing equipment and strikes himself softly on his shoulders and against his sides. Van Giau, who is 42, shows photographs of his injuries on his phone – huge, welling bruises and cuts. The attack lasted well over an hour and he needed hospital treatment. He tells how, in July, Chinese coastguards rammed into his wooden boat – badly damaging it – while he was fishing in waters near the Paracel Islands. They lie about 175 miles (280km) off the Vietnamese mainland – roughly the same distance they are from Chinese island province of Hainan. Van Giau lives on the small island of Ly Son – in the past year Vietnam says almost half of the island’s boats fishing in this area have come under attack from the Chinese. “My father fished these waters, my grandfather and my great-grandfather. From ancient times they have belonged to Vietnam. Now China has claimed them and invaded them illegally,” says Van Giau. This boat is owned by a friend, 62-year-old Vo Van Chuc who has had fishing nets and tackle, together with his catch of fish, stolen by the Chinese coastguard. “All of us are threatened every time we go out,” says Van Chuc. The boat is small and cramped and cluttered. A faded Vietnamese flag flies on a mast at the front and another above the wheelhouse. Inside there is no state-of-the-art marine equipment, just a radio, a compass and old, rusting dials. Read more: http://dailycapital.pk/beaten-up-by-china-for-going-fishing/

Philippines follows Vietnam in opposing China’s runway test

MANILA–The Philippine government said on Jan. 4 that like Vietnam, it opposes China’s recent test of a newly completed runway on one of seven islands Beijing has constructed in the disputed South China Sea. Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said the government was considering protesting China’s action, as Vietnam did, adding that the test at Fiery Cross Reef “adds to tension and uncertainties in the region.” Vietnam last week protested the test, saying it violated Hanoi’s sovereignty, and demanded that China stop such actions. China rejected Hanoi’s protest and will likely dismiss Manila’s concerns as well. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Jan. 2 that China deployed a “civil aircraft” on the island, which it calls Yongshu Jiao, to determine whether the new airfield in what she said was Chinese territory conformed to civil aviation standards. The early diplomatic tussle presages a continuation this year of tense exchanges, mainly among China, Vietnam and the Philippines, over long-disputed and potentially oil- or gas-rich offshore territories also claimed by Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei. Read more: http://ajw.asahi.com/article/asia/around_asia/AJ201601040065

Vietnam protests after China lands plane on disputed Spratly islands

Vietnam has formally accused China of violating its sovereignty by landing a plane on an airstrip Beijing has built on an artificial island in a contested part of the South China Sea. Foreign ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh said the airfield had been “built illegally” on Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly archipelago, in territory that was “part of Vietnam’s Spratlys”. South China Sea: US bomber angers Beijing with Spratly islands flypast Read more China’s foreign ministry rejected the complaint, saying that what was a test flight to the newly built airfield on the reef was a matter “completely within China’s sovereignty,” the Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported. The United States said it was concerned that the flight had exacerbated tensions. Washington has criticised China’s construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea and worries that Beijing plans to use them for military purposes, even though China says it has no hostile intent. Pooja Jhunjhunwala, a spokeswoman for the US State Department, said there was “a pressing need for claimants to publicly commit to a reciprocal halt to further land reclamation, construction of new facilities, and militarisation of disputed features”. “We encourage all claimants to actively reduce tensions by refraining from unilateral actions that undermine regional stability, and taking steps to create space for meaningful diplomatic solutions to emerge,” she said. Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China used a civil aircraft to conduct the flight to test whether the airfield facilities meet civil aviation standards. Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/03/vietnam-protests-after-china-lands-plane-on-disputed-spratly-islands

Russia opposes militarization of sea disputes, continues arms support for Vietnam

Russia has expressed its opposition to the militarization of the East Vietnam Sea situation and will keep providing military assistance for Vietnam in the future. Russian Ambassador to Vietnam Konstantin Vasilievich Vnukov hosted a press conference in Hanoi on Monday to review the results of the two countries’ comprehensive cooperation in 2015. Russia has every reason to consider Vietnam an essential link in the country’s effort to cement ties with the region, primarily the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). ASEAN is a ten-member organization that includes Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Russia objects to the militarization of the issues in the East Vietnam Sea and promises to work with Vietnam and relevant countries to settle the disputes in a peaceful manner, Ambassador Vnukov said. Moscow is interested in the development of peace and stability in the East Vietnam Sea because several Russian oil companies are operating in the maritime area, he explained. Read more: http://tuoitrenews.vn/politics/32481/russia-opposes-militarization-of-sea-disputes-continues-arms-support-for-vietnam

Vietnam Reveals New Drone for Patrolling the South China Sea

Vietnam revealed its largest indigenous high-altitude long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) this December, IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly reports. According to local media reports, the prototype was completed at the beginning of November and will commence test flights over the South China Sea in the summer of 2016. The prototype is a joint project of Vietnam’s Academy of Science and Industry and the Ministry of Public Security. The new UAV, designated HS-6L, will perform both civilian and military tasks, judging from the aircraft’s design features. Vietnamese media reports that the unarmed UAV prototype sports a Rotax 914 engine and a 22-meter wingspan. It has a range of up to 4,000 kilometers as well as an endurance of up to 35 hours. It will be equipped with unspecified optical and radar surveillance systems. IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly notes that the Vietnam may have received design assistance from Belarus, given that the unveiling of the aircraft coincided with the visit of the chairman of the Belarus Academy of Science. In 2014, Vietnam purchased a number of Grif-K tactical drones from Belarus. The Belorussian UAV has a wingspan of 5.7 meters, a maximum take-off weight of 120 kilograms, and a payload of 25 kilograms. Read more: http://thediplomat.com/2015/12/vietnam-reveals-new-drone-for-patrolling-the-south-china-sea/

Vietnam ambassador Ton Sinh Thanh flags concerns over Chinese land reclamation in South China Sea

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