By: Elena Grace Flores
America’s reported talks with Vietnam shortly before the South china Sea ruling that favored the Philippines was just very timely as it is actually getting more dangerous for the Vietnamese after the Filipinos’ were awarded with their sovereignty over the disputed islands. The international tribunal in The Hague rejected China’s claim to historic rights over 90 % of the South China Sea, and ruled that its reclaimed islands and outcrops in the Spratlys had no right to a 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone or EEZ.
Although the winning case has nothing to do with Vietnam, Hanoi is expected to receive a major legal and diplomatic boost in its own efforts to resist China’s bullying in the disputed waters. Since China never recognized such ruling, it can only respond by enhancing its military presence, increasing tensions to the already dangerous situation of the Vietnamese.
The United Nations’ insistence that the international law must be respected is now bringing tension among America, the neighboring countries – against one common enemy, China. The Chinese’ coast guards forcing Vietnamese fishermen off one of two boats operating near the disputed Paracel Islands and then sunk it was a typical form of bullying by China against smaller countries with no military powers comparable to them.They narrated the poor plight of the fishermen who spent hours in the water before being rescued by another Vietnamese boat.The incident has inflamed speculations that China is using its economic advantage and military capability to bully the smaller neighbors. Therefore, despite previous friction with the United States, Vietnam would rather be their ally than stick with China’s bullying than can only increease from bad to worst.