On July 17, two US-based think tanks informed that Chinese and Vietnamese vessels were participating in a standoff which lasted numerous weeks near an oil block in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone. However, neither China or Vietnam have confirmed the reports.
The reports said that a Chinese survey ship, carried out activities in the southern area of the East Sea, an action that breached Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.
For its part, Vietnam demanded China to stop the 'unlawful activities', claiming that it vessels are on Vietnamese waters, and they must leave.
In addition, Vietnam urged the international community to participate in its efforts to maintain order, peace and security in the South China Sea.
On the other hand, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, responded that he hopes Vietnam will respect China’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the relevant waters.
Recently, the US highlighted the United Nations arbitral tribunal's 2016 decision invalidating China's line claim in the South China Sea is 'final' and 'legally binding,' as the US is strongly against China's attempts to assert its 'unlawful'maritime claims.
Namely, the US Department of State noted that breaching the tribunal decision that rejected China’s nine-dash line maritime claim would be against the law.
In fact, on July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration decided that there is no no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to a 'nine-dash line' in the South China Sea. It also held that the country had violated the sovereign rights of the Philippines.
As far as China is concerned, it claimed that it is a 'role model' in observing regional and international rules, saying that interests must be protected, but China is refusing to honor the arbitral ruling. What is more, China called US's position as having double standard, and being hypocritic.