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China gunboat diplomacy ramifications worry international experts

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China gunboat diplomacy ramifications worry international experts

A Chinese Coast Guard vessel in the East Sea in April 2017. Photo by Reuters.


A draft law allowing the Chinese Coast Guard to use force could lead to gunboat diplomacy and put lives and properties of other countries’ citizens at risk, experts are concerned.

The draft law, released by China’s National People’s Congress on November 4, empowers the country’s coast guard to use force against vessels that violate China’s territorial waters, exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf, as well as areas where China has sovereignty claims.

This bill has raised serious concerns, not only among other countries in the region, but also those that use the South China Sea, which Vietnam calls the East Sea, and the East China Sea.

If passed, it would threaten the lives and properties of other countries’ fishermen and obstruct freedom of navigation through important international shipping routes, experts say.

At a discussion on avoiding risks of maritime clashes, which was part of an international science conference on the South China Sea held in Hanoi November 16-17, Chinese scholars argued that the draft law was part of China’s internal affairs. They said Beijing has always pursued a traditional friendship policy with its neighbors on matters relating to the South China Sea.

However scholars from India, Japan and Southeast Asian nations expressed their misgivings. Even though a number of other coastal countries also allow their coast guard forces to use weapons under certain circumstances, the Chinese Coast Guard has a history of unruly, aggressive behavior toward fishermen and vessels of other countries in recent times, they said.

In April, a Chinese coast guard vessel rammed into and sank a Vietnamese fishing boat. China’s survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 has violated Vietnam’s EEZ on several occasions while being escorted by coast guard vessels, as well as tailed a Malaysian oil exploration vessel.

Since the beginning of the year, China has sent coast guard vessels to approach the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea more than 20 times to challenge Japan’s claim over them. At one point, Chinese coast guard vessels maintained a presence in the area for 111 days straight, marking the longest period of continuous approachment since Japan’s nationalization of a number of the islands in September 2012.

Carl Thayer, Emeritus Professor at Australia’s University of New South Wales, said the draft law reminded him of the “law on the territorial sea and the contiguous zone” that China had passed in 1992, in which it arbitrarily set a 12-nautical-mile territorial sea for all four island groups in the South China Sea, including Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) islands.

Thayer said the new draft law was just “old wine in a new bottle” for China to continue claiming sovereignty over most of the South China Sea.

According to Chinese media, the country’s coast guard has been equipped with patrol boats with displacements of up to 12,000 tons, making them the largest coast guard vessels in the world, even larger than the U.S. Navy’s Ticonderoga-class cruisers and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.

These coast guard vessels are also equipped with 76mm H/PJ-26 naval guns, as well as two auxiliary guns and two anti-aircraft guns, making their firepower comparable to many types of warships.

Thayer stressed that Chinese coast guard vessels are often equipped with weapons, and recalled a standoff between Malaysia and China that lasted from December 2019 until January this year. During this incident, China dispatched coast guard vessels near the area where the Malaysia-contracted drill ship West Capella was operating, prompting Malaysia to dispatch Jebat guided missile frigates to protect the drill ship.

“Malaysia has guided missile frigates, but the Chinese Coast Guard has 5,000-ton ships and even patrol boats equipped with 76 mm guns. Therefore, this is similar to gunboat diplomacy,” he added.

Gunboat diplomacy is a term referring to the use of conspicuous displays of naval power to threaten other countries in order to achieve foreign policy objectives and force the threatened countries to make concessions in territorial or trade issues.

Vice Admiral Yoji Koda, former Commander-in-Chief of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, commented that the world needs to consider how Chinese coast guard vessels will use their weapons should the draft law be passed.

“We are very concerned about China’s past activities and their future criteria on when the coast guard is allowed to use weapons. For example, in a number of areas in the South China Sea, we consider them international waters but China claims them to be its waters,” he said.

Koda suggested that by not clarifying the waters in which the draft law would apply, China “would create a serious international problem. This ambiguity is really arousing profound concerns,” he said.

When a Chinese scholar asked whether the prevention of maritime incidents is just an issue between China and the other countries or a regional issue, Vice Admiral Pradeep Chauhan, Director General of India’s National Maritime Foundation, asserted that it is a regional issue and other countries are not excluded.

He explained that China is paid closer attention because other countries, despite having differences, tend to operate within a framework based on international rules and practices, while China’s sovereignty claims have been rejected by many parties.

“Therefore, in this issue, the party that receives the most attention is obviously China,” he said.

Source: https://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/china-gunboat-diplomacy-ramifications-worry-international-experts-4194995.html

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Three districts in Ho Chi Minh City can propose social distancing: official

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Authorities of District 6, Tan Binh District, and Binh Tan District in Ho Chi Minh City can seek permission to implement social distancing if necessary, Tu Luong, deputy director of the municipal department of Information and Communications, said at a meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee will approve social distancing in areas at high risk of infection, according to Luong.

The said three districts are where COVID-19 patients and their contacts have visited over the past days.

Besides, authorities of District 1, District 3, District 6, District 10, Phu Nhuan District, Binh Tan District, and Tan Phu District were requested to inspect the places patient 1,347, Vietnam’s first locally-transmitted COVID-19 patient after nearly three months, had visited and to seal them off when necessary. 

The city’s authorities emphasized the importance of criteria guiding the behaviors of organizational and individual economic constituents in the pandemic context, which was issued in May.

Agencies, organizations, and people must strictly follow the regulations of wearing face masks and using hand sanitizer in public places, especially at schools and hospitals.

The municipal People’s Committee requested that patient 1,342, a Vietnam Airlines flight attendant who spread the disease to his friend that later became patient 1,347, be strictly handled for violating the COVID-19 prevention and control regulations.

The city’s authorities also asked competent agencies to study regulations and appropriate punishments for people who spread dangerous infectious diseases to the community, Luong said.

The Ho Chi Minh City Center for Disease Control has tested a total of 737 samples since Tuesday afternoon, of which 37 samples were from people in direct contact with patient 1,342, and 372 from those in close contact with patient 1,347.

All of those 737 samples returned negative for the novel coronavirus.

Vietnam’s COVID-19 tally stood at 1,351 as of 4:30 pm on Wednesday, with 1,195 recoveries and 35 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health.

The Southeast Asian country had gone 88 days without an infection in the community before patient 1,347 was announced on Monday.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20201202/three-districts-in-ho-chi-minh-city-can-propose-social-distancing-officer/58075.html

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Vietnam confirms seven new imported Covid-19 cases

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Vietnam confirms seven new imported Covid-19 cases

A medical staff conducts novel coronavirus tests on human samples in the central province of Nghe An. Photo by VnExpress/Van Hai.


Vietnam confirmed seven new imported Covid-19 cases Wednesday, taking the national tally to 1,358.

“Patient 1,352” is a 10-month old girl who landed November 11 at the Cam Ranh International Airport in Khanh Hoa Province from Russia on Vietnam Airlines flight VN5062.

She is being treated at the Cam Ranh General Hospital. “Patient 1,353,” a 64-year old woman from Da Nang, “Patient 1,354”, a 54-year old man from the northern province of Ha Nam, and “Patient 1,355”, a 65-year old man from the northern province of Bac Ninh landed November 30 at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City from France on Vietnam Airlines flight VN10.

They are being treated at the Dong Nai Lung Hospital in the eponymous southern province.

“Patient 1,356” is a 17-year old girl from the central province of Thanh Hoa who arrived November 23 at the Da Nang International Airport from the U.S., transiting in South Korea.

The U.S. flight was KE094 of Korean Air and the South Korea flight was VN431 of Vietnam Airlines, with three Covid-19 cases having been confirmed on the latter. She is being treated at the Da Nang Lung Hospital.

“Patient 1,357” is a 23-year old woman from southern Tay Ninh Province who landed November 30 at the Can Tho International Airport from the Philippines on Vietjet flight VJ2527. She is being treated at the Can Tho TB and Lung Diseases Hospital.

“Patient 1,358” is a 25-year old Indian man who landed November 28 at the Noi Bai International Airport in the capital city from the United Arab Emirates on Emirates flight EK394. He is being treated at the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Hanoi’s Dong Anh District.

The new cases take the national Covid-19 tally to 1,358, with 1,201 recoveries, six of whom were discharged Wednesday. The death toll stays at 35.

Vietnam this week has recorded several community transmissions after going 89 days without one. A resident of HCMC was confirmed infected Monday after contracting it from a flight attendant. The man then spread the virus to a nephew and one of his English students.

Source: https://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/vietnam-confirms-seven-new-imported-covid-19-cases-4200514.html

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Vietnam confirms seven new imported cases

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Vietnam confirms seven new imported cases

A medical staff conducts novel coronavirus tests on human samples in the central province of Nghe An. Photo by VnExpress/Van Hai.


Vietnam confirmed seven new imported Covid-19 cases Wednesday, taking the national tally to 1,358.

“Patient 1,352” is a 10-month old girl who landed November 11 at the Cam Ranh International Airport in Khanh Hoa Province from Russia on Vietnam Airlines flight VN5062.

She is being treated at the Cam Ranh General Hospital. “Patient 1,353,” a 64-year old woman from Da Nang, “Patient 1,354”, a 54-year old man from the northern province of Ha Nam, and “Patient 1,355”, a 65-year old man from the northern province of Bac Ninh landed November 30 at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City from France on Vietnam Airlines flight VN10.

They are being treated at the Dong Nai Lung Hospital in the eponymous southern province.

“Patient 1,356” is a 17-year old girl from the central province of Thanh Hoa who arrived November 23 at the Da Nang International Airport from the U.S., transiting in South Korea.

The U.S. flight was KE094 of Korean Air and the South Korea flight was VN431 of Vietnam Airlines, with three Covid-19 cases having been confirmed on the latter. She is being treated at the Da Nang Lung Hospital.

“Patient 1,357” is a 23-year old woman from southern Tay Ninh Province who landed November 30 at the Can Tho International Airport from the Philippines on Vietjet flight VJ2527. She is being treated at the Can Tho TB and Lung Diseases Hospital.

“Patient 1,358” is a 25-year old Indian man who landed November 28 at the Noi Bai International Airport in the capital city from the United Arab Emirates on Emirates flight EK394. He is being treated at the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Hanoi’s Dong Anh District.

The new cases take the national Covid-19 tally to 1,358, with 1,201 recoveries, six of whom were discharged Wednesday. The death toll stays at 35.

Vietnam this week has recorded several community transmissions after going 89 days without one. A resident of HCMC was confirmed infected Monday after contracting it from a flight attendant. The man then spread the virus to a nephew and one of his English students.

Source: https://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/vietnam-confirms-seven-new-imported-cases-4200514.html

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