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Vietnamese leader urges ASEAN to strengthen solidarity over the East Sea issue

Update: May, 12/2014 - 08:04
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (left) at the summit in Myanmar. — VNA/VNS Photo Duc Tam
Nay Pyi Taw (VNS) — Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung called for ASEAN countries to strengthen solidarity and strongly reaffirm the principles stated in the Six-Point Declaration on the East Sea at the 24th ASEAN Summit on May 11.

The PM said the association should request China to abide by international law, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), respecting coastal state sovereignty over the continental shelf and the 200-nautical-mile economic exclusive zone.

China should fully and strictly implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and work with ASEAN to build a Code of Conduct in the East Sea, he stressed.

PM Dung reiterated that from May 1, China had deployed a deep sea drilling rig escorted by more than 80 armed ships, military vessels and aircraft in Vietnam's waters, and positioned the rig over 80 nautical miles inside the continental shelf and exclusive economic zone of Viet Nam.

The Chinese armed ships aggressively fired strong water cannons and rammed into Vietnamese civil ships, damaging the vessels and injuring many crewmen, he noted.

PM Dung said that this was the first time China has boldly planted a drilling rig well inside an ASEAN member country's continental shelf and exclusive economic zone, seriously violating international law, the 1982 UNCLOS, and the DOC, to which China itself is a signatory member.

China's extremely hazardous move had directly threatened peace, stability, maritime security and safety in the East Sea, he underscored.

PM Dung made it clear that Vietnam had practised utmost restraint, showed goodwill, and used all dialogue channels with China at different levels to protest and demand China remove the rig from Viet Nam's waters.

However, China had so far made no response to these legitimate requests and has instead slandered and blamed Viet Nam, while continuing to intensify its violating acts in a more dangerous and serious manner, he noted.

The Vietnamese PM highlighted that Viet Nam attached special importance and always did its best to maintain and strengthen its friendship with China.

Viet Nam had always been sincere and wished to work with China in settling all disputes through peaceful measures on the basis of respecting international law, equality and mutual respect for the interests of the two peoples and for peace and stability in the region and the world, he emphasised.

However, Viet Nam strongly protested China's move of violating its sovereignty and would resolutely protect its national sovereignty and legitimate interests in accordance with international law, PM Dung declared.

He also called on ASEAN members, countries around the world and international organisations to continue raising their voices to protest China's actions and support the legal and legitimate request of Viet Nam.

Ministerial statement on East Sea tension

In a statement on Saturday, foreign ministers of the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) voiced their concern over the escalating tension in the East Sea, and called on the parties concerned to exercise self-restraint.

They reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace and stability, maritime security, freedom of navigation in and over-flight above the East Sea as well as the ASEAN's Six-Point Principles on the South China Sea and the Joint Statement of the 15th ASEAN-China Summit on the 10th Anniversary of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.

They also called on all parties to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) to undertake full and effective implementation of the DOC in order to create an environment of mutual trust and confidence. They emphasised the need for expeditiously working towards an early conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC). — VNS

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