UN 'to mediate in China-Vietnam row'

The disputed area in South China Sea. (Photo - UNCLOS)11 June 2014 – The United Nations is willing to mediate in the territorial row between China and Vietnam. UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric called for both sides to resolve the dispute peacefully and legally. In the past week, Vietnam and China have both sent dossiers outlining their claims in the South China Sea to UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

The latest phase of the row focuses on China's decision to move oil rig into the disputed Paracel Islands. Beijing claims almost the entire sea, based on a mid-20th Century map with a line apparently delineating Chinese territory. On the other hand, Vietnam says it has controlled the Paracels for centuries. Both sides have repeatedly accused the other of aggressive behavior and ramming.

On Tuesday, China distributed in the UN a document outlining its historical claims in the region and accusing Vietnam of illegally disrupting its exploration in the area. Vietnam hit back with its own dossier and called for Beijing to halt drilling off the Paracels and negotiate over the territory. China's decision to move the rig sparked anti-Chinese protests in Vietnam, with mobs attacking factories and businesses, where four people were killed in the violence.

Vietnam's UN envoy Le Hoai Trung told the Associated Press that many suspects have been arrested and prosecuted, and the government has taken measures to prevent a repetition of the violence.

Source: BBC News (prepared by: Mateja Robnik)