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Analyses and Commentaries

China versus Vietnam: An Analysis of the Competing Claims in the South China Sea

China versus Vietnam: An Analysis of the Competing Claims in the South China Sea

Raul (Pete) Pedrozo

CNA Occasional Paper, 2014

This legal analysis was commissioned as part of a project entitled, “U.S. policy options in the South China Sea.” The objective in asking experienced U.S international lawyers, such as Captain Raul “Pete” Pedrozo, USN, Judge Advocate Corps (ret.), the author of this analysis, is to provide U.S. policy makers access to work that tests the various legal arguments that the respective claimants make in support of their claims, and weigh them against the relatively limited body of international case law associated with maritime disputes of this sort. (…)

Based on the arguments and evidence submitted by the claimants and general principles of international law related to the acquisition of territory, it would appear that Vietnam clearly has a superior claim to the South China Sea islands. (…)

Importantly this was not done to set the stage for making a recommendation to change long established U.S. policy of not taking a position on the legal merits of respective sovereignty claims. In fact, this analysis confirms the wisdom of that policy. Although the author finds that Vietnam’s claims are superior to China’s, as the forward indicates other legal analysts have looked at the same information and reached the opposite conclusion. In short none of the various claimants has what might be considered an open and shut legal case.

Download the report at China versus Vietnam – An Analysis of the Competing Claims in the South China Sea [PDF]

Untitled

A map of South China Sea Claims and Boundary Agreements. Source: U.S. Department of Defense’s Annual Report on China to Congress, 2012

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Discussion

5 thoughts on “China versus Vietnam: An Analysis of the Competing Claims in the South China Sea

  1. The Intro paragraph inserted on the South China Sea website is misleading. The last two sentences have been omitted.
    The Intro paragraph of the CNA report on the CNA website includes the sentences:
    Although the author finds that Vietnam’s claims are superior to China’s, as the forward indicates other legal analysts have looked at the same information and reached the opposite conclusion. In short none of the various claimants has what might be considered an open and shut legal case.

    It is of paramount importance to be precise. The issue at hand is sufficiently complex without this kind of misinterpretation.

    The intro paragraph from CNA website in its entirety reads as follows:
    This occasional paper by Raoul “Pete” Pedrozzo, a respected international legal expert, was commissioned as part of a study looking at U.S. policy options in the South China Sea (SCS). Using international case law associated with sovereignty disputes, this legal analysis explores whether China or Vietnam has the better claim to the Paracel Island group and the Spratly Island group in the SCS. This analysis was undertaken to provide U.S. policy makers with a comprehensive legal interpretation of the incredibly complex international law issues at play in the SCS. Importantly this was not done to set the stage for making a recommendation to change long established U.S. policy of not taking a position on the legal merits of respective sovereignty claims. In fact, this analysis confirms the wisdom of that policy. Although the author finds that Vietnam’s claims are superior to China’s, as the forward indicates other legal analysts have looked at the same information and reached the opposite conclusion. In short none of the various claimants has what might be considered an open and shut legal case. – See more at: http://www.cna.org/research/2014/china-versus-vietnam#sthash.5AKa78LQ.dpuf

    Like

    Posted by Linda Jakobson | September 21, 2014, 7:11 am
    • Dear Linda Jakobson,

      Thank you very much for your comment. The purpose of introducing this paper on our website is to present another legal research (among many others) on South China Sea islands’ sovereignty. Thus we highlighted the author’s own analysis and legal conclusions.

      But we agreed that omitting that last two sentences may mislead the readers, and we deeply apologize to have misled you. We will add these sentences in the Intro paragraph.

      Editor-in-chief,
      Van Pham.

      Like

      Posted by seasresearch | September 21, 2014, 10:15 am
  2. Reblogged this on MY VIETNAM.

    Like

    Posted by Uy Do | July 10, 2015, 1:04 pm

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