“Vietnam Invades Southeast Asia Sea” Says China – 合法/非法


After reading a recent online article published by 大公网 (“Great Public Web” dà gōng wǎng), I was compelled to write and share my findings (my previous writing on China’s history of territorial disputes here).  The heading states that “Vietnam “invading-occupying” China’s islands in the Southeast Asia Sea and that China’s Foreign Affairs ministry firmly opposes.”  The main point of the article was to state that the Southeast Asian nations have no rights of sovereignty to islands in the Southeast Asia Sea (strange, right?) and that China is the only one with legal right to these islands.  It’s not about being fair, peaceful, or equal.  Also, there is a largely misquoted–and out of context–bit from an expert of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Mira Hooper. (article here)

Vietnam Invades Southeast Asia Sea

Below is a translation of sections of the article with corresponding numbers:

  1. Vietnam is illegally controlling the islands
  2. Vietnam “illegally invaded-occupied” islands in 1972 and 1978
  3. For a long time now, the Philippines, Vietnam and the other ASEAN nations have all illegally “invaded-occupied” China’s Spratly Islands…
  4. China requests the related countries to immediately stop the invasion of China’s sovereignty and rights
  5. *Misquoted: The Chinese government states that Mira Cooper told Reuters that “China is right;” however, she actually said satellite imagery reveals that China is correct about Vietnam reconstructing the islands.  On the other hand, she claims, China’s efforts vastly outmatch Vietnam’s.(Image below of her statement or link here)
  6. China is using its legal sovereign rights in building islands in the Southeast Asia Sea


As you can see for yourself, China loves to use the words “illegal” and “invasion-occupation” to describe the actions of the weaker Southeast Asian nations.  This form of bullying has worried these countries and may force them to ask further assistance from foreign powers, particularly the US.  The interesting part of this is the hypocrisy of Beijing, claiming to be undergoing a “peaceful” rise to greatness.  Also, the Chinese themselves recognize that under the UN’s Oceans and Law of the Sea the actions of Vietnam aren’t any more or less legal than what China is doing.  Should the international community condemn both China and Vietnam?

合法 – legal (héfǎ)

非法 – illegal (fēifǎ)


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