|Chinese vessel 46001 rams Vietnamese marine police vessel 4032. Foreign Ministry spokesman, Le Hai Binh, has said China has deployed more ships, including military vessels, to aggressively intimidate and prevent Vietnamese law enforcement from protecting Viet Nam's sovereignty. — Photo Nguyen Dong vnexpress.net
HA NOI (VNS) - Viet Nam's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh yesterday held a phone conversation with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
The Deputy Prime Minister cum Foreign Minister affirmed Viet Nam's strong objection to China's recent actions and requested the latter to immediately remove the Haiyang-Shiyou 981 oil rig and its escorts from Viet Nam's territorial waters. He emphasized that China's move had seriously and negatively affected the trust between the two countries and the friendship between the two peoples, adding that China's actions went against agreements between the leaders of both countries, fundamental principles on resolving maritime issues and international law.
Minh reiterated that Viet Nam had acted with utmost restraint, adding that the recent riots in Viet Nam, which had caused damage to foreign enterprises, were violations committed by particular individuals. He said the Vietnamese Government had since carried out measures to stabilize the situation and impose appropriate punishments for the violations.
He assured that Viet Nam would do everything in its power to protect the safety of foreign investors and their businesses, while asking that the two foreign ministries maintain close contact to deal with relevant issues in a timely fashion.
Support for Viet Nam's position in safeguarding the country's sovereignty against China's illegal placement of the Haiyang Shiyou-981 oil rig in Viet Nam's waters continues to spread outside the country.
At a meeting yesterday, the executive board of the Vietnamese Association in Britain, expressed support to the Vietnamese Government and rebuked China for violating Viet Nam's waters.
Chairman of the association Son Thanh cited Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung's speech at the recent ASEAN Summit in Myanmar, in which he said that Viet Nam always attached special importance to maintaining and strengthening its friendly relations with China.
Thanh said the East Sea situation was serious. He called on overseas Vietnamese people to join hands with the Government to protect their sovereignty.
Members of the board also demanded China to remove the oil rig 981, as well as escort its vessels from Viet Nam's waters.
The association and other organisations of the Vietnamese community in Britain will hold a peaceful rally in front of the Chinese Embassy on May 18 to protest China's illegal act.
Ben Chapman, chairman of the Viet Nam-UK Network, which co-ordinates groups organisations and individuals wishing to boost bilateral relations, voiced his worry over China's actions. He said they jeopardised peace and stability and violated the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS) and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea agreed upon between ASEAN and China in 2002.
He called on all sides to negotiate on the basis of the 1982 UNCLOS to work out settlement solutions.
The Viet Nam-ASEAN Friendship and Co-operation Association yesterday issued a statement urging China to promptly withdraw the drilling rig and associated vessels from Vietnamese waters and "not repeat such actions in the future".
In an interview with a Vietnam News Agency reporter on Wednesday, Mass Boup, an expert on politics and development for Africa, the Caribbean, the Asia-Pacific and the European Union described this act as part of China's politically-driven scheme against its neighbours, adding that it was unacceptable.
He called on regional countries to stand united against China's territorial encroachments which, he said, ran counter to international law and posed a danger to the world as well.
Boup also said ASEAN was an important pillar in settling the current dispute, especially the statement on the East Sea issued at its recent summit in Myanmar.
Boup said China needed to sit down with ASEAN member states to reach a peaceful solution.
The same day, Italy's leading geopolitical magazine, Limes, ran an article about the ongoing tension in the East Sea, voicing concern that Beijing is intensifying its territorial claim and adopting a policy of intimidation.
Writer Giorgio Cuscio said China was setting a dangerous precedent.
Australia's foreign ministry also voiced concern over the issue in an announcement on its website yesterday.
"We share the serious concerns expressed by ASEAN over recent developments which have served to raise tensions in the region," the announcement reads.
Australia urges parties to exercise restraint, refrain from provocative actions that could escalate the situation and take steps to ease tensions.
The Association of Ex-Youth Volunteers and the Truong Son - Ho Chi Minh Trail Tradition Association have strongly denounced China's oil rig in Viet Nam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.
The group, which has about 500,000 members who fought against French, US and other forces, said it joined the calls for China to remove its oil rig and its fleet of military vessels and jets from Vietnam's waters.
It also proposed establishing youth volunteer teams to help maintain offshore fishing and protect the country's sea and islands, as well as the assets and lives of fishermen.
Yesterday, numerous demonstrations against the Chinese action were held in Ha Noi, Hai Phong City, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, HCM City and Dong Nai Province.
Vietnamese communities in Malaysia and Bulgaria have also expressed outrage at China's actions.
Spokesman for Viet Nam's Foreign Ministry, Le Hai Binh, said in recent days Viet Nam had persistently carried out dialogue and serious communications with China at different levels, to protest China's illegal placement of the oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 on Viet Nam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.
Binh informed reporters at the Foreign Ministry's regular press conference yesterday that China was continuing to maintain and expand its illegal actions. China has deployed more ships, including military vessels, to aggressively intimidate and prevent Vietnamese law enforcement from protecting Viet Nam's sovereignty. Viet Nam strongly denounced China's actions and demanded that China pull its oil rig and helicopters from Viet Nam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, and not pursue similar actions in future.
Binh also said Viet Nam would apply necessary measures in line with international law, giving priority to peaceful, diplomatic measures to defend its legitimate rights and interests. On May 7, Viet Nam submitted a public note to the UN protesting China's illegal placement of the oil rig in Vietnamese waters.
"On this occasion, Viet Nam would like to give thanks to countries, individuals, and organizations that have voiced their opposition to China's acts as well as our gratitude to local and international media for their unbiased news reporting to expose China's wrongful behavior," Binh said.
"Viet Nam has commitments and determination to protect national sovereignty and to request China to remove its oil rig, vessels and aircraft from Vietnamese waters. However, Viet Nam will act with restraint and oppose any violent acts," he said. — VNS
Chinese vessel 46001 rams Vietnamese marine police vessel 4032. Foreign Ministry spokesman, Le Hai Binh, has said China has deployed more ships, including military vessels, to aggressively intimidate and prevent Vietnamese law enforcement from protecting Viet Nam's sovereignty. — Photo Nguyen Dong vnexpress.net