Vietnam advised to learn from Philippines on sea row

By Jaime Laude, The Philippine Star

Posted at May 24 2014 03:28 AM | Updated as of May 24 2014 11:28 AM

MANILA, Philippines - A Hanoi-based security expert has advised Vietnam to learn from the Philippines and allow media to cover its maritime row with China.

Writing in an online article in Indo-Pacific Review, Gary Sands, Southeast Asia’s security, finance and investment expert, said if Vietnam wants to hail China before the international court, it must bring foreign media right into the conflict area for them to independently document the Chinese aggression towards Vietnamese Coast Guard vessels.

“Vietnam should take a lesson from the Philippines in using international media to document China’s aggressive moves,” read the article.

“Vietnam could do well to borrow an earlier tactic used successfully by the Philippines to get a clearer (and unbiased) picture of what is transpiring on the disputed waters.”

In March, when the Philippines knew the Chinese would attempt to thwart efforts to resupply its military outpost at Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal), it allowed members of the international media aboard their supply ship, he added.

Sands said local and foreign media were able to document Chinese attempts to prevent the resupply, and the Philippines was able to successfully portray China as the aggressor and cultivate international opinion in its favor.

“Given an increasingly aggressive Chinese strategy, now is the time for Vietnam to use the international media to document what is going on its disputed waters,” read the article.

What is indisputable now is that China has clearly marked itself as the aggressor in moving its oil drilling rig into the disputed waters, challenging the status quo and providing the impetus for a Vietnamese reaction, he added.

'China being bullied'

State-run China Daily accused yesterday the Philippines, Vietnam and Japan of bullying China.

In an editorial, the newspaper said tensions in the Asia Pacific have “taken a dangerous turn.”

China is being ganged up on by “cronies” of an “outside instigator,” China Daily added.

The newspaper said the words and deeds of Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam have disproved their claims of a shared commitment to peace and the peaceful resolution of the disputes. – With Alexis Romero