sovereign jurisdiction into line with international law. Vietnam claims excessivebaselines (the pregnant lady) in the southeast. Vietnam should redraw this claim asthe Philippines did recently when it redrew its baseline to bring them into
conformity with international law.” According to Article 8 of the Law of the Sea “The
Government of Viet Nam shall determine and, upon approval by the NationalAssembly's Standing Committee, publicise the baselines in areas where baselines
have not been established.” Does it mean that Hanoi will redrew its baseline to bring
them into conformity with international law?ANSWER: Vietnamese legal scholars and maritime specialists recommended that the
baselines be redrawn and this was rejected by the Politburo. Since the “pregnantlady” baselines have already been established, and in light of the Politburo’s
decision, Vietnam is unlikely to make any changes.Q4. Vietnamese authorities affirm that they want to solve the dispute peacefully.However, some articles of the Law seem to contradict this wish. Like Article 26 forexample: "For the sake of safeguarding the sovereignty, national defence, securityand interests or securing safety of navigation, protecting marine resources and themarine ecology, combatting pollution, tackling maritime accidents or marineenvironmental disasters, preventing the spread of epidemics, the Government maytemporarily suspend or restrict the exercise of innocent passage in specified areas inViet Nam's territorial sea." Could you comment on that?ANSWER: There is no contradiction in my mind. A peaceful resolution of territorialdisputes relates to islands and land feat
ures beyond Vietnam’s territorial sea.
Vietnam has absolute sovereignty over its territorial sea and may put in placetemporary restrictions. Vietnam could declare it will conduct live firing exercises in aparticular area and restrict foreign ships from passing through the area. All thegrounds listed in your question are permitted under international law.On an allied issue, Vietnam, just like the authorities in Sansha city, have the legalright to take action against foreign ships conducting illegal activities in theirrespective territorial sea. This includes boarding and arresting a foreign vessel.Q5. Analysts, observers and journalists focus mostly on the relationships and dispute
between China and Vietnam. But according to some reports “the Philippin
es is thelegal owner of the islands in the Spratlys as it is within 200 Nautical Mile ExclusiveEconomic Zone said United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)." Isthat true? How is the relationship between Manila and Hanoi at the moment?AN
SWER: The ancient principle of international law is the “land dominates the sea.”
No nation, including the Philippines, can claim sovereignty over islands on the basis
that they lie within that nation’s EEZ. A state has sovereign jurisdiction over the
resources in its EEZ (in the water column and seabed). There are numerous examplesin the contemporary world where one country has sovereignty over an island thatlies within the EEZ of another country. The island is entitled to a 200 nm EEZ on itsown. In case of overlap, the EEZ boundaries would be withdrawn to accommodatethe interests of both parties. Current judgments by international courts restrict theimpact of claims from small islands on the EEZ of the nearest coastline.