Dozens of prominent members of Vietnam’s Communist Party (VCP), voicing concerns over China’s actions in the South China Sea, are calling on their leaders to file a legal case against Beijing with the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea.
The petition, obtained by VOA’s Vietnamese service, has been sent to the Central Committee, the highest authority within the VCP. The move comes weeks after China moved a controversial oil rig away from disputed waters near the Paracel Islands, also claimed by Vietnam.
In an open letter, the senior members wrote that Hanoi has paid a high price for conceding too much to China’s demands.
“The more Vietnam steps back, the more China presses ahead,” they wrote, adding that only a legal move can prove Vietnam’s legitimacy over the disputed waters.
Professor Tuong Lai, a co-signer of the petition, says given Beijing’s activities in the South China Sea, it is a wakeup call to millions of other party members who have a vague idea about shared ideology with Beijing’s Community Party.