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US expert condemns China’s violations in Vietnam’s EEZ

China’s deployment of survey vessel group Haiyang Dizhi-8 to Tu Chinh reef (Vanguard Bank) in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) has violated international law, Associate Prof. Ryan Martinson of the US Naval War College said in an article recently published on the Republic of Korea (RoK)’s website.

Vietnam has repeatedly asked the vessel group to withdraw from its EEZ, Martinson said, noting that China has infringed upon Vietnam’s EEZ as defined in international law.

The Tu Chinh reef does not belong to China’s EEZ and continental shelf, but it completely belongs to Vietnam’s EEZ and 200-nautical mile continental shelf as clearly defined in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), he said.

Although China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and there are Chinese judges in some international courts such as the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the country has continuously declined to settle sea and island disputes at international law enforcement agencies and international organisations, he said.

The expert stressed that according to international law practice, the most effective way to resolve disputes relating to sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction is to observe basic principles of international law approved by countries.