HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam will use all peaceful measures as stipulated in the United Nations Charter and international law to safeguard its rights and interests in the East Sea, a government official said.
Tran Duy Hai, Deputy Director of the National Boundary Commission (NBC), made the affirmation in an interview granted to the Viet Nam News Agency after China illegally brought its oil rig into Viet Nam's waters, brazenly violating Viet Nam's sovereign right and jurisdiction in the East Sea.
He affirmed that Viet Nam had sufficient historical evidence to prove its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes as well as its sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its waters in line with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982).
"In any circumstance and from any angle, China's move of bringing the oil rig and dozens of vessels of all kinds into Viet Nam's waters is unlawful and runs counter to provisions of international law, and Viet Nam strongly protests these acts," Hai said.
Asked about China's statement that it would only sit down for negotiations when Viet Nam withdraws its ships from the area, the official made clear that as the area was entirely in Viet Nam's jurisdiction, the presence of Vietnamese law enforcement forces (specifically the coast guard and fisheries surveillance agency) was in line with international law.
He stressed that the most important thing now was for China to withdraw all its vessels and the oil rig from the area.
In response to China's allegation that Vietnamese ships intentionally crashed into Chinese vessels, the official said that at a press conference on May 8, Chinese officials could not provide concrete evidence or images to back up the claim.
Hai added that China could not prove this allegation because Vietnamese ships at the site were all civilian vessels and did not engage in any act of provocation towards the Chinese side.
Rather, the Chinese ships deliberately took provocative actions towards Vietnamese vessels, he said, noting that Viet Nam had publicised many images at the recent international press conference to prove this.
The official reiterated that Viet Nam pursued a consistent policy of safeguarding the sovereignty and jurisdiction of its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, and the country was also consistent in dealing with disputes through peaceful measures in line with UN Charters and international law. — VNA/VNS