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2011 Agreement South China Sea

Among the most notable developments in 2010 and 2011, tensions between China and Vietnam increased in mid-June 2011 due to their controversial claims in the South China Sea. On May 26, 2011, a Chinese patrol boat cut the cable of a Vietnamese survey that was conducting seismic research in Vietnamese waters. Chinese ships cut the cables of a Vietnamese sonar exploration vessel operating 120 nautical miles off the Vietnamese coast, east of Nha Trang. No claim as to the area in which the Vietnamese ship drilled could be made on the basis of the sovereignty of all or one of the scattered groups of islets, rocks and reefs known as Spratly. Vietnam said its navy would hold six hours of live fire drills in the South China Sea on Monday. Vietnamese military exercises took place around The island of Hon Ong, some 40 kilometres from Quang Nam province in central Vietnam, far from the disputed waters. Chinese officials said the trip is at odds with a non-binding agreement between China and ASEAN countries in 2002, according to the AP. It is true, Beijing has long violated the political and individual rights of its citizens and has tried to support Chinese companies through industrial espionage and protectionist measures.52 But in most areas – from world trade to the UN system – China supports and respects international institutions and standards.53 Remarkable examples (a) free trade agreement and membership of the World Trade Organization , b) significant contribution to the ongoing multinational anti-piracy operation in the Gulf of Aden , c) become one of the largest financial and human contributors to UN peacekeeping missions and (d) demonstrate the leading role of the global economy after the global financial crisis through initiatives such as the first meeting of G20 heads of state and government in 2008.54 Despite Beijing`s behaviour in the crisis , China is generally a strong supporter of the current international order. China and Vietnam have signed an agreement to deal with a sometimes bitter conflict over the South China Sea.

On June 27, 2011, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed Resolution S.Res.217, which deplores China`s use of force in the South China Sea and calls for a peaceful and multilateral solution to maritime disputes in Southeast Asia. The resolution adopted by the Senate reaffirms the strong support of the United States for the peaceful settlement of maritime disputes in the South China Sea, continues to commit to facilitating a peaceful multilateral process to resolve these disputes, and supports the continuation of U.S. Armed Forces operations for freedom of maritime rights in international waters and in the airspace of the South China Sea. On 23 June 2011, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai warned the United States to stay out of the fighting in the South China Sea. “With respect to the role of the United States in this matter, the United States is not a state of the law in dispute… It is therefore preferable for the United States to resolve the dispute between the complaining states. …

I think the different countries are actually playing with fire, and I hope that the fire will not be fired in the United States…. Some American friends might want to help the United States. We appreciate this gesture, but most of the time, such gestures only complicate things…. If the United States wants to play a role, it can advise those countries that have often taken provocative steps to exercise restraint and ask them to be more responsible in their behaviour….

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