China Cites Sovereignty over Zhongjian Island

World Today

A special team from China is in Vietnam. They want investigators to get to the bottom of the violence that claimed the lives of as many as 21 people. A doctor tells Reuters news service, as many as 16 of those deaths are Chinese nationals.
The Chinese government has only confirmed two deaths. Production at several factories is still stalled because of damage — and, the fact that hundreds of workers have fled. One person described the scene as a mob of anti-China Vietnamese protesters roaming the streets this week.  The violence began after Chinese and Vietnamese ships collided in the South China Sea. The Chinese ships were servicing a Chinese oil rig in disputed waters.

China Cites Sovereignty over Zhongjian Island

China Cites Sovereignty over Zhongjian Island

Both China and Vietnam disagree whether this oil rig is legal. Both are party to a United Nations treaty governing these types of disputes. As CCTV's Jessica Stone reports both are invoking rules set by that UN treaty to back up their claims. A little slip of sand is at the heart of the argument.
Download Video

Both China and Vietnam disagree whether this oil rig is legal. Both are party to a United Nations treaty governing these types of disputes.  As CCTV’s Jessica Stone reports  both are invoking rules set by that UN treaty to back up their claims. A little slip of sand is at the heart of the argument. That slip of sand – or island – is known in China as the Zhongjian Island. It’s called Triton in English. It’s part of a chain of islands that’s between the Chinese mainland and Vietnam. The Chinese call them Xisha. English speakers call them the Paracels. China insists it is the rightful owner of Zhongjian, the rest of the Xisha and all the surrounding waters. Vietnam disagrees.
Vietnam defends its actions-saying China has no right to establish the oil rig where it did. That’s because it doesn’t agree with China’s claim to zhongjian Island. In addition, under the U-N Convention on the Law of the Sea which both nations signed, nations in dispute are encouraged to resolve the dispute *before* acting in a way that shows they own the territory – such as drilling for oil. China also says Vietnam has placed 57 oil and gas blocs in disputed waters.

For its part, Vietnam has stayed relatively silent about the dispute in the South China Sea. The country’s Prime Minister said earlier this month that Vietnam opposes everything China is doing in the waters off the shores of the Xisha islands.