May, 31 2014 21:42:00

Minister calls on nations to share responsibility

Vietnamese Defence Minister General Phung Quang Thanh delivers a speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue. — Photo VNA

In order to manage risks that may cause disputes, all countries should share the same perspective on international responsibilities, especially the role and responsibility of major powers, Defence Minister General Phung Quang Thanh has said.

In his speech delivered on May 31 at the ongoing 13th IISS Asian Security Summit, better known as the Shangri-La Dialogue, General Thanh reiterated that the common aspiration of all nations in the world, including Vietnam, is the maintenance of peace, stability, cooperation and progress without disputes.

To realise that, all countries should share the same duty of preserving an environment of peace, stability and respect for international law, the United Nations Charter and independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of others.

At the same time, they must not use force or threaten to use force to settle disputes, he said, adding that they must enhance cooperation in all partnership aspects on the basis of equality and mutual respect for mutual interests, regardless of whether they are small or big.

A common perspective provides a firm foundation for the building of trust, he said, adding that trust should be shown not only through words but also though specific and practical actions of promoting transparency and building friendships and partnerships among countries in respect of international law.

General Thanh also mentioned China' illegal placement of its Haiyang Shiyou-981 rig in Vietnam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, a move which has angered Vietnamese people and worried regional countries and the international community.

He reaffirmed Vietnam's stance of persistently settling disputes through peaceful measures in accordance with international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and ASEAN's Six-Point Principle on the East Sea .

He demanded that China immediately remove the rig out of Vietnam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf and sit down at the negotiating table to maintain peace, stability and the relationship between the two countries.

Also on May 31, General Thanh had a bilateral meeting with US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, and is scheduled to meet French and UK defence ministers Jean-Yves Le Drian and Philip Hammond the same day.

At the beginning of May, China illegally dispatched the rig, as well as a large fleet of armed vessels, military ships and aircraft, to Vietnam's waters and positioned the rig at 15 degrees 29 minutes 58 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 12 minutes 06 seconds east longitude. The location is 80 miles deep inside Vietnam 's continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

Throughout the month, China 's armed vessels have aggressively fired high-power water cannons at and intentionally rammed against Vietnamese public-service and civil ships, causing damage to many boats and injuring many people on board.

Chinese ships have continuously encircled, constrained and driven away Vietnamese fishing boats and put the lives of fishermen at risk.

On May 26, Chinese ship 11209 sank a Vietnamese fishing vessel while it was operating normally in its traditional fishing grounds near Vietnam's Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago.

On May 27, China moved the rig to 15 degrees 33 minutes 22 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 34 minutes 36 seconds east longitude. The new location is 25 nautical miles from Tri Ton Island in Vietnam's Hoang Sa archipelago and 23 nautical miles east-northeast from the old location, still completely within Vietnam's continental shelf. With the move, China has continued to violate Vietnam 's sovereign right and jurisdiction.—VNA/VNS

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