Clearly among the more problematic straight baseline claims are those
off the southern coast of Vietnam (see Fig. 5.16). Fringed with islands
along portions of the northeastern coast, the remainder of the
Vietnamese coastline except for the Mekong River delta is relatively
smooth without a fringe of islands in the immediate vicinity. Nonetheless,
baseline segments A I to A6 enclose the entire coast with
infrequent basepoints located on the islands of Dao Tho Chu, Hon
Khoai, Con Dao and the Phu Qui group (Chatwick Islands). As can be
readily seen, the configuration of these islands and their distance from
the coast deny them any status as a group of fringing islands under
Article 4 (LOSC Article 7).
Even if the Mekong delta qualifies the coastline in this locality as
deeply indented, the islands selected are not appropriate as basepoints. Typical of this type of pathology, the baseline veers from the general direction of the coast and encloses waters which cannot be characterized as internal. Baseline segment A9-A I 0 also departs appreciably
from the general direction of the coast. In addition, the length of
segment AI to A2 is 99.94 n.m., segment A2 to A3 is 103.9 n.m., and
segment AS to A6 is 162.3 n.m. The enormous increase in maritime
area gained by Vietnam from these claims has been illustrated above in
Fig. 5.1. In addition, when combined with the Cambodian straight
baseline claims, these baselines represent a likely infringement upon
Thailand’s rights in this ocean region.

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