• Julia Beyen

An unnecessary provocation

In light of the recently forged alliance between Canada and Vietnam we sat down with China for a short interview.


What is your take on the joint venture of Vietnam and Canada finding common ground on military energy sources?

We believe this is concerning. It is an unnecessary provocation. The main concern for the People’s Republic of China comes in two regards: First of all, there have been certain disputes with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in the South China Sea and therefore we do not believe that Vietnam should use a military cooperation. We believe that this is unnecessary. China obviously has been expressing their wish for peace and stability. We do not understand where this originates from. This is besides the fact that Vietnam has a Three No policy, and this explicitly means that Vietnam neither wishes to cooperate with other countries and military alliances nor to align with other countries or any partner against a third country. We believe this has been breached with the current settlement and more importantly, in regard to the present topic of the UN Security Council we are concerned about Vietnam’s actions because China – now obviously as an Arctic State – is very involved in this issue. Although we support the fact that Vietnam should have a say in the Arctic because we believe that every country should have a say in the Arctic since it is a global issue, especially regarding environments, we cannot support any escalation which would leave this military cooperation the way it is.


So you don’t promote the distinction between Arctic countries, non-Arctic countries and near-Arctic countries?

Well, let us put it this way: Of course, there are countries that have territory within the Arctic and there are countries that do not. In that capacity the distinction makes sense. However, we do push for a more differentiated and inclusive global governance of the Arctic because although we respect every nation’s sovereignty in the Arctic the existing international treaties, such as the UNCLOS and the Spitsbergen Treaty really emphasize the notion that the Arctic is a global common and the fact that drastic environmental changes affect large parts of the world, including countries that are not directly involving the Arctic. Although we do understand that they do not wish to challenge the differentiation Arctic vs. non-Arctic, we believe that decisions on the Arctic have to be taken by the entire international community.


Do you want to comment on the subject of the original source of the malware on board the USS Jacksonville? Quite a few countries have expressed their suspicion that China may be the source behind it.

We are happy to comment on this, yes. We have conducted investigations into this issue. We have also – since the first minute – participated in uncovering what has happened. As of now, the delegation of China is not aware of any involvement by any state in fact and rejects any claims that they have been involved in this incident. We are slightly concerned in a sense that the delegation of the United States of America has not been more vocal on this. We would like more transparency. We have been pushing for more transparency and we can only say that this is a tragic accident, but we have no knowledge where it originated from and we believe that the best way to address it – in the long-term – is to create infrastructure in the Arctic to prevent but also to provide aid when such an incident does occur.

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