|Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh yesterday said Viet Nam had held 20 direct meetings with China over the oil rig issue. — File Photo
HA NOI (VNS) — Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh yesterday said Viet Nam had held 20 direct meetings with China over the oil rig issue.
Minh said Viet Nam had consistently asked for the removal of the rig and all Chinese vessels, which he said had been placed illegally in Vietnamese waters since the beginning of May.
The Foreign Minister was presenting a report on the situation in the East Sea to the National Assembly, which convened yesterday for a general session.
Minh said China had shown aggression by not withdrawing the oil rig despite. He added that Viet Nam had used all necessary measures to protect the country's sovereignty and regional stability - and the traditional friendship built between peoples of both countries.
NA member Bui Thi An from Ha Noi praised the spirit of fisherman and Viet Nam's coast guards who have been in the hot-spot for several weeks. She said she would ask the Government for special measures to support them.
Deputy Nguyen Van Rinh from Hai Duong Province agreed, saying that the Government should provide finance and technology to help fisherman maintain their livelihoods and support the country's sovereignty.
On Monday, China kept more than 90 ships of various kinds around the Haiyang Shiyou-981 rig.
Several of them kept approaching and attacking Vietnamese ships, according to the Viet Nam Coast Guard High Command.
Meanwhile, Chinese steel-hulled fishing vessels accompanied armed ships to hinder the operations of Vietnamese boats, according to the force.
However, the Viet Nam Coast Guard continued to demand China withdraw the rig and ships from Viet Nam's waters.
At 7:10am on May 20, as Viet Nam Coast Guard 4032 got within six nautical miles of the rig, it was obstructed by six Chinese ships, coded 3401, 102, 21101, 32101, 46001 and 37011.
At 8:05, three more Chinese ships cut in front of Vietnamese Coast Guard ship 8003, forcing it to stop its engines. — VNS