Freedom of navigation and sovereignty of Paracel and Spratly Islands


Earlier May 2014, China unexpectedly moved the HD-981 oil rig to the location that is about 17 nautical miles from the island of Tri Ton (of Vietnam’s Hoang Sa Archipelago) and 120 nautical miles from Ly Son Island (Da Nang province), deep in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Vietnam, and 180 nautical miles from Hainan Island (China).

In mid-July, China stated that the oil rig completed the task before the deadline and withdrew it from Vietnam’s EEZ.

During the time China’s drilling oil anchored deep in Vietnam’s EEZ, there were many activities at the national and international level protesting China’s actions that blatantly violated international law and the agreements between Vietnam and China in 2011.

The purpose of this article to analyze the relationship between freedom of navigation and the sovereignty over the Paracel-Spratly islands, and the ability to solve the disputes in the East Sea.

The first part of the article will focus on the relationship between freedom of navigation and sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly Islands.


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