return icon

The East Sea is 'magnet' attracting many countries

In early March this year, the East Sea saw the presence of warships from many countries.

The new US administration has launched two consecutive FONOP (freedom of navigation) campaigns passing through Hoang Sa (Paracel Islands) and Truong Sa (Spratly Islands).

After sending the nuclear attack submarine Émeraude and logistics vessel Seine to the East Sea in early March, France will send the amphibious assault helicopter carrier Tonnerre and the destroyer Surcouf to pass through these waters to participate in the first joint naval exercises with the US, UK, Australia and Japan in May in Asia-Pacific.

Khi Biển Đông là 'nam châm' thu hút nhiều nước

French vessels participate in the exercises with the US and Japan in February. Photo: Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force


The largest newly-launched British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth also made her first long trip to this area. Germany has announced plans to send warships to the East Sea in August. Thus, members of the Group of 7 (G7), except Italy, have plans to send warships to the East Sea.

In response, China launched a month-long exercise in March with the participation of two aircraft carriers.

Why has the East Sea attracted such great attention from countries outside the region, including France, the UK, and Germany which have important economic relations with China?

Concern over the Indo-Pacific region

First of all, increasing presence in the region is aimed at protecting freedom of navigation, trade as well as international order based on the law.

This was the move after the three countries of France, the UK and Germany submitted a joint diplomatic note on September 16, 2020 in response to China’s historic rights and Four Sha claims, and the way to draw baselines for offshore archipelagos and extending encroachment on semi-submerged features, which were inconsistent with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as well as the requirement to respect freedom of navigation and overflight of countries.

The note and the sending of warships to operate free traveling activities in accordance with international law show that these countries care about the Indo-Pacific region, the protection of their economic interests, and cooperation with QUAD countries (Japan, India, Australia and the United States).

France has territories and exclusive economic zones in the Indian and southern Pacific Oceans. The UK has a traditional relationship with Hong Kong, with 12% of maritime trade, over US$130 billion in imports and exports going through the East Sea each year and $80 billion of trade exchange with China (China invests more than $20 billion in the UK).

The UK urgently needs to have stability in the Chinese market and implement the "Great Britain" strategy after Brexit.

Khi Biển Đông là 'nam châm' thu hút nhiều nước

Aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. Photo: Royal Navy


Germany has no historical connections but is also looking for a place in this region of considerable importance. These are the factors that promote close security relations between these countries and those in the region.

Second, these countries want to show loyalty and support to the US Indo-Pacific strategy. They want to take advantage of the return in US foreign policy to restore sustainable alliances between the EU, Australia, Japan, and China and expand to India to resolve regional and world issues.

They want US consultation and to enhance their role in political decision-making for this region. For China, this is considered a "follow" of the US in implementing a separate Indo-Pacific strategy.

Third, China also believes that increasing the military presence of other countries destabilizes the region and aims to promote conflict and promote arms sales.

Khi Biển Đông là 'nam châm' thu hút nhiều nước

Warships of the German navy.


Fourth, this activity aims to implement a strategic balancing approach, putting pressure to achieve economic goals, while avoiding increasing tensions with China. Therefore, it can be seen that the operation of warships of these countries will differ from the US in the waters that China have claims. They serve the purposes and interests of these countries themselves.

Due to their limited power and internal problems, these activities are more symbolic, at least in the early stages.

Concern mounts over overheated militarization in East Sea

Countries in the region, dissatisfied with China’s excessive behavior and China's use of power in the East Sea, want to have strategic balancing activities but fear that the East Sea will be militarily overheated, which could cause conflict and local wars. They don't want to be pushed into difficult choices.

Freedom of navigation activities conducted by the US and its allies is one of the ways to demonstrate the validity of international law. These activities by themselves cannot hinder China's ambitions, but along with other activities, they contribute to the internationalization of the East Sea issue. This is not an issue of just China - US relations.

The East Sea needs to be handled on the basis of principles and norms of international law, especially the UNCLOS.

Nguyen Hong Thao

Biden administration outlines strategy to contain China in the East Sea

Biden administration outlines strategy to contain China in the East Sea

On February 19, after a month in office, the Biden administration clearly outlined US policy in the Asia-Pacific, especially in the East Sea.

East Sea 2020: The US adjusts its policy, Southeast Asia gets tough with China

East Sea 2020: The US adjusts its policy, Southeast Asia gets tough with China

Facing China's actions, the United States increased military operations in the East Sea and adjusted its policy towards endorsing the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)'s ruling in 2016.




Phu Quoc welcomes increasing investment in urban development

Journalists live streaming court proceedings to be fined nearly US$1,500

Journalists may face a fine from VND7 million ($320) to VND30 million (over $1,400) if they record audio, video with audio of a court hearing and broadcast it live on cyberspace.

Man arrested for attempted murder of three-year-old boy, hiding him in freezer

Police in Ha Nam Province have arrested a 25-year-old man, for the attempted murder of a three-year-old boy after beating him unconscious and hiding him in a freezer.

Da Lat to build dossier for becoming UNESCO creative city of music

Da Lat city in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong has been given the green light to build a dossier and plan serving the application to be part of UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the field of music.

Vietnam strives to conserve elephants

In Vietnam, elephants are classified as critically endangered in the Vietnam Red Book, and are included in the group with the highest conservation status, whose exploitation for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited. ​

VN photographer wins two prizes at One Eyeland Awards

Tran Viet Van, a journalist at Lao Dong (Labour) newspaper, claimed two prizes in the World’s Top 10 Portrait Photographers 2022 photo contest run by One Eyeland Awards 2022.

VN tennis players qualify for World Group II play-offs in 2023

The Vietnamese tennis team have been promoted to the World Group II play-offs in 2023 after enjoying a resounding 3-0 win over Syria in the 2022 Davis Cup Group III in the Asia/Oceania region.


NA Chairman approves financial support for pandemic-hit laborers

Removing bottlenecks to attract foreign visitors to Vietnam

The local tourism industry is currently devising ways to iron out snags in attracting foreign visitors to the country, as the number of foreign arrivals during the first half of the year was far below the set target.

Demand for logistics real estate increases sharply: Savills Vietnam

Vietnam’s logistics industry is developing strongly thanks to the growth of the e-commerce industry, according to Savills Vietnam.

Discover the exquisite rainbow rice noodles of Can Tho

Rainbow rice noodles, also known as five-coloured hủ tiếu, are a fun take on the traditional Vietnamese rice noodles and a must-try for every tourist to Can Tho City in the Mekong Delta.

A unique cave awaits explorers in Quang Binh Province

Va Cave in the core zone of the Phong Nha- Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh Province, with its unique stalagmites and stalactites, is a natural beauty waiting to be discovered by explorers.

The most important 'economic corridors' for next 10-30 years

The national planning draft for 2021-2030 with a vision towards 2050 focuses on the formulation and development of economic corridors, dynamic zones, large cities and economic zones associated with the national infrastructure framework.

Artisans strive to keep traditional craft alive

Artisan Tran Van Ban is busy all day from early in the morning to the evening. He is carving out beautiful mooncake molds to serve people's demands for the Mid-Autumn Festival which is approaching in the next few weeks.

Goalkeeper Dang Van Lam returns home to join a V.league 1’s club

Goalkeeper Dang Van Lam is set for a return to V.League 1 after touching down in HCM City with his agent.