Letter to President of the United States on his visit to Vietnam 27-28 February 2019

Vietnamese and people from all over the world

Link to sign the letter: https://thuguitongthongtrump.wordpress.com

27 February 2019

Dear Mr President,

We welcome you to Vietnam, beloved and beautiful country of the industrious and peaceful Vietnamese.

We appreciate highly the United States’ and your personal effort and hard work for peace in the Korean peninsula and the world. Your dedication to a better world where people are free, nations thrive, cooperate and have their sovereignty respected is shared by us, who understand and have fought over the course of two millennia for freedom and independence.

On your visit to Vietnam, we would like to tell you about events that happened and are happening close to this day.

  • January 19 this year marks the forty-fifth anniversary of China’s invasion of the Paracel archipelago, causing the death of 75 Vietnamese soldiers and sailors. The sovereignty on the Paracel archipelago had been asserted for two centuries by Vietnamese kingdoms, then by France during the colonization period and since 1956 by the Republic of Vietnam. After these acts of invasion, the Republic of Vietnam’s observer at the United Nations requested the review of the matter by the Security Council of the United Nations. Yet China used its veto in the Security Council to block all efforts to open a debate on the issue.
  • February 17 this year marks the fortieth anniversary of China’s land invasion of Vietnam to support the genocidal Khmer Rouge, igniting an appalling war causing the death and injury of tens of thousands of Chinese and Vietnamese soldiers and civilians.
  • March 14 this year marks the thirty-first anniversary of China’s invasion of Johnson South Reef in the Spratlys, causing the death of 64 Vietnamese soldiers and sailors.
  • Today Vietnamese and Filipinos are facing threats from China in the South China Sea. Its militarised artificial islands are a threat to peace and international law, while its militarized coast guard and maritime militia harass at will. Currently China is deploying up to 95 coast guard ships and militia boats to put pressure on Philippines-occupied Thitu Island.

We would like to draw your attention to these anniversaries and the current situation with the hope that they will give context for the need to prepare for the threats against peace. We would like also on this occasion to remind the importance of respect for international laws, in particular the freedom of navigation and the Principle that all international disputes must be settled by peaceful means.

The Chinese military interventions on the Paracel in 1974, in the North of Vietnam in 1979, on the Spratly in 1988 constitute obvious breaches of international law. The Principle, originally enshrined in the 1928 Briand-Kellogg Pact, has been solemnly reaffirmed on the number of occasions since then in the framework of the United Nations.  Hence, the 1970 Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States unambiguously states that “[e]very State has the duty to refrain from the threat or use of force to violate the existence of another State or as a means of settling international disputes on international borders, including territorial disputes and problems concerning the borders of States.”

There is nevertheless no lack of means to find a solution to the dispute over the Paracel and Spratly archipelago, one of them being the submission of the dispute to the International Court of Justice. However, Beijing has turned a deaf ear to all proposals in this direction. If China continuously asserts the strength of evidence of its sovereignty over the archipelagoes, why does it not agree to submit the case to the most appropriate organization for resolving such disputes between States?

Instead, China continues to occupy the Paracels and many features in the Spratly archipelago, rams Vietnamese fisherman boats, stops oil exploitation and investigation activities of international companies such as Exxon Mobil, builds artificial islands and militarize them. By imposing also its illegal 9-dash-line claim, China threatens the freedom of navigation, hinders the economic development, challenges the presence of the United States and causes significant tensions in the region.

We, therefore, recommend that you  urge China to respect the freedom of navigation and to comply with international law by accepting the submission of the Paracel archipelago dispute to the arbitration of an independent third party, notably the International Court of Justice. Your action will help improve peace in the region and the world.

We would like to thank you and the United States for the freedom of navigation operations in recent years. We welcome a greater presence of the United States and its allies in the South China Sea and hope that these operations will have more cooperation with Vietnam and other countries affected by China’s excessive maritime claims, such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei.

We believe that this cooperation between the United States and Vietnam should not stop at military patrols but also be in economy and trade, as well as in furthering political improvement in Vietnam.

Again, we wholeheartedly welcome you to Vietnam and hope you all the best for this trip and the meeting with President Kim Jong Un of North Korea. Let us do all we can for a world of peace, stability and justice, where nations trade and live with full respect to each other. We believe that Americans and Vietnamese can share in this aim.

Sincerely,

Vietnamese and people from all over the world

List of signatories till now: https://goo.gl/bQDx1k

Link to sign the letter: https://thuguitongthongtrump.wordpress.com

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