Most of the countries in East and Southeast Asia always desire peace and stability to grow and thrive. Maintaining peace and stability depends primarily on how the countries in the regions, particularly major powers with area, population, and capital advantages, behave with one another. As an emerging power in the regions, China is expected to carry the greatest responsibility, including its carefulness, in its relations with the many neighboring countries.
In contrast to what other nations expect, the Chinese authority often shows their aggressive arrogance, provocative behavior, and constant harassment toward most of the smaller neighboring countries, disregarding international law, convention, norms, and human’s morality. China’s malicious desire is to annex foreign territories. A clearest evidence of the Chinese expansionism is the “nine-dotted line” or the U-shaped line claiming sovereignty over 80% of the South China Sea, or more precisely, the Southeast Asian Sea. Such a claim has no legal or historical bases.
Recently, backed up with many advantages such as being the country with most population, vast land area, and economic and military strengths, the Chinese authority has escalated its provocation and tensions in the Southeast Asian Sea. On early May 2014, Beijing attempted to position the deep water oil rig, known as the HD-981 owned by the state-run energy giant China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), in the location 119 miles from Ly Son Island off the central coast of Vietnam, and 18 miles south of Tri Ton Island of Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (the Paracels Islands). The location is completely within the Exclusive Economic Zone of Vietnam based on the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea signed by ASEAN member states and China. The Chinese authority exercises the so-called “no-trespassing area” prohibiting all vessels within a 3-mile radius from the parking location of the rig. These actions violate Vietnam’s territorial sovereignty and international law and conventions.
We are peace-loving Vietnamese who conform to international norms and who wish to maintain a mutual friendship with China. Vietnam attempts to address the issue based on international law and human’s morality. However, the Chinese authority has encroached Vietnam’s territorial waters. The parking of the oil rig in the Vietnam’s EEZ is illegal and invalid, and is a clear violation of international norms. Vietnam has been practicing restraint; but every restraint has its own limit.
It is now for us, Vietnamese people overseas and abroad, to take specific actions. The Association of Vietnamese Students and Professionals in the U.S., the official organization of thousands of Vietnamese students and professionals in America announces:
First, we resolutely oppose the Chinese authority’s hegemonic activities to annex the legal territory and interests of Vietnam.
Second, we need to show our solidarity and do specific activities, including: i) keeping our international friends, especially our American friends, informed of the Beijing’s aggressive behavior and bogus sovereignty claims that threatens the peace and stability, as well as freedom of navigation in the region; ii) expressing our voices by joining those campaigns that promote the national sovereignty, hosted by individuals or organizations, especially by the Vietnamese communities in the U.S.; iii) making meaningful contributions (labor, expertise, even life sacrifices) to the motherland’s growth and protection of the territorial sovereignty.
Third, we ask that people with human conscience all over the world, especially peace-loving Chinese people and Americans, voice their opposition to the Chinese authority’s aggression and demand Beijing deescalate the tensions, stop having bogus maritime territorial claims, and stabilize the region.
One of the best ways possible to avoid foreign invasion is for each nation to prosper. For Vietnam, achieving prosperity perhaps depends largely on the contributions of each of every “hand” and “mind” of more than 90 million Vietnamese people regardless of where they are, at home, overseas, or abroad. The AVPUS community with thousands of students and professionals is one such pool of valuable “hands and minds.”
In this regard, each of us needs to stay vigilant and focused to offer the best we could, and to solidify into a robust community with its weighing voice to contribute to the country’s growth. Our history shows that we all “come from a same source.” Regardless of the geographical location where we are living, the same “Vietnamese blood” is valiantly running in our veins. The AVPUS hopes that overseas Vietnamese all over the globe forget lingering differences to unite against the Chinese authority’s aggression and expansionism. We also hope that all domestic issues will be properly handled to incentivize economic development, and overall strengthen Vietnam in the near future.
THE ASSOCIATION OF VIETNAMESE STUDENTS AND PROFESSIONALS IN THE UNITED STATES