Vietnam opposes WMO using map with illegal nine-dash line

26/8/2022| 10:01

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang stated Vietnam’s opposition to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) for using a map with China’s nine-dash line which has not been recognized internationally.

Vietnam has repeatedly rejected the so-called nine-dash line, as well as maritime claims that run contrary to international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang told media workers at a press briefing in Hanoi on August 25.

She was speaking at a routine press conference, referring to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)’s website that uses a map of China showing the “nine-dash” line.

Hang dismissed propaganda and popularisation of content and images infringing Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos as well as its established sovereign rights and jurisdiction over related waters in the South China Sea in line with UNCLOS, saying they are all null and void.

“Vietnam requests other countries and organizations to respect its sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa and the surrounding waters in the South China Sea,” she said, asking for the removal or modification of such content.

On August 23, the World Meteorological Organization based in Switzerland posted a story about the Chinese climate on Facebook, using the map with the nine-dash line that illegally covers Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) and Hoang Sa (Paracel) islands. 

The representative of the permanent mission of Vietnam to the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and other international organizations in Geneva discussed this matter with the representative of the World Meteorological Organization, said the spokesperson.

Vietnam opposes WMO using map with illegal nine-dash lineLe Thi Thu Hang, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam (Photo: VOV)

Earlier, on July 21, Vice Spokeswoman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pham Thu Hang stressed the demand that China respect Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago. She highlighted Vietnam’s stance on China’s military drills conducted in the vicinity of Hoang Sa.

The official said the drills have seriously violated Vietnam’s sovereignty over the archipelago, ran counter to the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), complicated the situation, and did not benefit the current negotiations for a Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea between China and ASEAN as well as the maintenance of an environment of peace, stability and cooperation in these waters.

Vietnam explicitly rejects what China has shamelessly argued it has a long history in the South China Sea as the two neighboring nations have been entangled in a long territorial dispute. “Vietnam has sufficient historical evidence and legal basis to assert its sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos in accordance with international law,” Hang said at a 2020 press conference regarding the country's consistent view about Hoang Sa and Truong Sa islands.

“We advocate that all countries have a common duty and obligation to respect the basic principles of international law,” Hang added.

Vietnam opposes WMO using map with illegal nine-dash lineMalaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob. (Photo: VNA)

 Other than Vietnam, other countries have repeatedly called on China to comply with the 1982 UNCLOS. Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on August 23 that member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are once again accelerating negotiations on a Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (COC). 

"If China can comply with the COC, many issues can be resolved. Freedom of navigation needs to be respected by all parties," he said.

Speaking to the press on his first anniversary as the PM, Ismail said China should also comply with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS 1982) so that the situation improves. He added that Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Philippines are among countries that are directly affected by China's policies, especially in relation to the so-called ‘nine-dash line'.

Vietnam opposes WMO using map with illegal nine-dash lineAn Bang island belonging to Vietnam's Truong Sa archipelago. (Photo: VNA)

On July 13, 2020, for the first time, the US made its policy on the South China Sea crystal clear. Thereby, Washington rejected China's claim to most of these waters and asserted that America stands with its Southeast Asian allies and partners in protecting their sovereign rights to offshore resources.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added that China has no legal grounds to unilaterally impose its will on the region. Beijing has offered no coherent legal basis for its “Nine-Dashed Line” claim in the South China Sea since formally announcing it in 2009.

He stated that the US rejects any Chinese claim to waters beyond a 12-nautical mile territorial sea derived from islands it claims in the Spratly Islands (without prejudice to other states’ sovereignty claims over such islands).

Following the US statement, several Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia voiced their support for the US position, welcoming the White House’s tough move and arguing that the disputes must be resolved based on international law.