The Chinese newspaper Global Times published an editorial titled “Tougher action towards China cannot benefit Vietnam” to which the Vietnamese Dai Doan Ket Newspaper has replied appropriately “China’s newspaper distorting the truth and intimidating the Vietnamese People”.
Two of three Chinese ocean surveillance vessels violate Vietnam's water teritorry and cut off a survey cable of vessel Binh Minh 02 on May 26.
After experiencing 20 very turbulent years, Vietnam and China had normalized their relations with a basic pledge, “Close the past and go forward into the future”. They aimed to build a relationship under the slogan: “friendly neighbors, comprehensive cooperation, long-term stability, future-oriented”.
In addition, the two nations recently agreed to set up comprehensive strategic partner cooperation.
This was a valued and treasured achievement that was created with much effort and a concerted will by both sides and remains firmly respected and endorsed by Vietnam.
Unfortunately, many newspapers in China have continuously issued hostile articles, distorting Vietnam’s image and Vietnam-China relations. The articles have increased in number after Chinese vessels cut off cables of a Vietnamese oil exploration vessel in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone two weeks ago. An exploration cable of the PetroVietnam vessel, Binh Minh 2 (Sunrise 2) was cut by Chinese ocean surveillance ships on May 26. Two weeks later, a Chinese fishing boat rammed the survey cables of the PetroVietnam vessel, Viking II that was operating in Vietnam’s EEZ.
Amongst all the Chinese newspapers, the Global Times has raised the biggest voice over China’s actions in Vietnam’s EEZ.
The paper issued an editorial titled “Tougher action towards China cannot benefit Vietnam”, which clearly distorts the actual truth and Vietnam’s reaction to the violations.
The editorial ridiculously blames Vietnam for threatening China. It was not a Vietnamese vessel that attacked a Chinese vessel but contrarily it was the other way round. A Vietnamese vessel was clearly threatened by a Chinese ship. Chinese vessels not only threaten but also provoke, which is unacceptable to any country as defined under international law and procedure. This certainly does not call for a large number of print and online newspaper articles that have repeatedly used grudging and accusative wordings to deeply offend the dignity of the Vietnamese people.
Such rhetoric does not make a nation proud nor does it portray the decorum of a civilized country, in particular of two socialist countries that are close neighbors.
The editorial published in Global Times on June 11 used threatening words such as: “Vietnam seems completely ignorant of the reactions that China can offer”; “If using war to resolve territorial disputes Vietnam will lose”… (Although I do not want to, I am compelled to remind about events in the 1970s when China attacked the Hoang Sa archipelagoes (Paracel Islands) and launched a war on the Northern borders of Vietnam and the 1988 event when China attacked some islands in Truong Sa archipelagoes (Spratly islands). This reminder is aimed at exposing those who not only threaten but also wage war against the Vietnam-China relationship.
The provocative actions of the Chinese ocean surveillance ships and articles like the Global Times editorial, disturb and hurt Vietnamese people’s sentiments towards China, though not towards all the Chinese people in general. What the Global Times says is far from the truth: “Chinese people’s feelings towards Vietnam that were accumulated day by day have reduced to ashes while reading Vietnam’s reactions through the media”.
The emphasis on big country and small country was very marked by the author. Realistically the world has powerful and not so powerful countries based on geographic, economic and population strata. However all countries are equal when it come to international relations. This notion has been continuously repeated by Chinese leaders.
China’s present attitude contradicts the policy of respecting smaller countries as the article states.
In addition, this conduct displays an encroaching attitude by a big country and raises concerns in the public besides affecting China’s image of a peacefully growing economy.
|Position of Vietnamese vessel Binh Minh 02 during the incident on May 26 when Chinese ships cut its survey cable|
The editorial also incorrectly assumed that legal reaction from Vietnam was the result of domestic pressure, stimulating internal sentiments, attracting attention from the international community…, reflecting nationalism and causing contradictions between the two countries.
The problem between the two countries began when Chinese vessels in the East Sea broke international law. All Vietnamese felt betrayed as all with a conscience in the world would as well.
International law in today’s modern world does not permit any country to behave in an encroaching manner with another country and expect it to remain silent.
How would Global Times react if foreign vessels attacked Chinese ships and cut their cables in the Chinese EEZ recognized by international law? Certainly not in the area of so-called nine-stage line recognized by China itself and thousands of miles away from the Chinese coast!
History knows that China was also invaded and the Chinese people know dishonor at the hands of foreigners. Surely then they must understand the discontentment of the Vietnamese people.
The editorial said that Hanoi took a back step after successfully determining the boundaries in the Tonkin gulf. These allegations are only worth dismissing. Does Beijing want now to change the word Ha Noi?
It is most regrettable that what took 20 long years for the two countries to overcome and build by way of renewed cooperative relations is now being pushed aside by regrettable action by China.
At the end of the article, the author writes “Please reconsider the history”.
Exactly! Please review the thousand-year history of your neighbors and follow decorum and a moral code of conduct towards neighbors who value peace and good friendly relations with all countries.
Every Vietnamese citizen has a deeply embedded desire to behave in accordance with moral standards towards good friendly countries. Surely this too must be the wish of the Chinese people as well!
By Hoang Truong *- Translated By Viet Trung
* The author is a journalist of Dai Doan Ket Newspaper