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Chinese ships continue aggression

Update: June, 09/2014 - 08:25
China's fishing boats, backed by two coast guard ships, continued to hinder Vietnamese fisheries surveillance and fishing ships from accessing the rig.

HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam fisheries surveillance ships yesterday continued intense efforts to oppose China and get it to withdraw the oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 from Viet Nam's waters.

The ships stayed about 8-10 nautical miles from where China's oil rig has been illegally placed, according to the Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance Department.

Meanwhile, Viet Nam's fishing boats carried out normal fishing activities about 35-40 nautical miles from the rig, asserting control over their fishing grounds.

In addition to protesting China's s violation of Viet Nam's sovereignty, the fisheries surveillance ships stood side-by-side with fishing boats to protect them from Chinese vessels.

China has maintained nearly 120 ships in the area, including 40 coast guard vessels, more than 30 cargo ships and tugboats, 35-40 fishing boats and four warships. A Y-8 aircraft was also spotted flying 300-500m above the oil rig.

China's fishing boats, backed by two coast guard ships, continued to hinder Vietnamese fisheries surveillance and fishing ships from accessing the rig.

The Chinese vessels staged spontaneous assaults, pushing Viet Nam's fishing boats about 35-40 nautical miles away from the rig.

At one point, the Chinese vessels even organised into groups, about 9-11 nautical miles from the rig, poising themselves to ram and fire water cannons at the Vietnamese ships.

The Vietnamese fisheries surveillance and fishing ships remained unharmed despite acts of aggression from Chinese vessels.

Chinese tugboat 281 on Saturday deliberately rammed into Viet Nam's fisheries surveillance ship KN-635 that was conducting law enforcement in the area around the Haiyang Shiyou-981 oil rig that is illegally standing in Vietnamese waters.

The Chinese fleet also blasted sirens, fired water cannons and were ready to ram Vietnamese vessels at any time, preventing them from approaching the rig, the department said.

Despite the Chinese aggression, Viet Nam's fisheries surveillance ships had continued to maintain their operations at about 9-11 nautical miles from the rig to voice their protests and demand China's removal of the rig out of Viet Nam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, according to the department.

NA informs partners

Chairman of the National Assembly's External Relations Committee Tran Van Hang has sent a letter to his counterparts in the parliaments of various countries to brief them on China's violation of Viet Nam's sovereignty in the East Sea.

In the letter, Hang thanked the parliaments as well as international organisations for raising their support for Viet Nam regarding the settlement of the issue.

He noted that since the beginning of May, China dispatched its rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 and a large number of coast guard vessels, warships and military aircraft and positioned the rig well within Viet Nam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in the East Sea.

"Peace, stability, security, maritime and aviation safety and freedom in the East Sea are being seriously threatened," read the letter.

The Vietnamese National Assembly and people strongly condemn China's violations of the country's territorial sovereignty, sovereign right and jurisdiction, the letter stated.

The East Sea situation remains tense, with China insisting on continuing to claim sovereignty over Viet Nam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf and realising its groundless "nine-dash-line" claim, the letter noted.

More dangerously, China has threatened, rammed, damaged and even sunk Vietnamese ships and injured Viet Nam's law enforcement officials and fishermen, it said.

In the letter, Hang also called on leaders and members of the parliaments to accompany Viet Nam's National Assembly and people to seek a necessary solution to the issue, protecting justice and preserving humankind's common aspirations of peace.

He said that any solution must adhere to international law and the principle of respecting national sovereignty of each nation, and maintaining peace and stability as well as maritime safety by demanding China remove its rig and forces from Viet Nam's waters immediately.

The same day, Hang also sent a letter to the President and Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, as well as leaders of regional and global inter-parliamentary organisations to inform them of China's acts and thank them for their support.

Continuing tensions

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the International Francophone Organisation (OIF) on Friday expressed their deep concerns about East Sea tensions caused by China's illegal dispatch of the Haiyang Shiyou-981 drilling rig in Viet Nam's waters.

They called on all parties concerned to exercise the utmost restraint and settle the dispute by peaceful means and international law.

The Argentina-Viet Nam Culture Institute (ICAV) has expressed solidarity with the Vietnamese people over China's provocative acts in the East Sea, and voiced its hope that the current tension between the two countries will be settled through peaceful means.

In a message sent to Chairman of the Viet Nam Union of Friendship Organisations Vu Xuan Hong, ICAV Chairwoman Poldi Sosa Schmidt shared her deep concern about China's illegal placement of an oil rig inside Vietnam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, violating the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Schmitdt said that these acts showed that Beijing wanted to flex its muscles to the international community and seek control of the archipelagos in disputes with its neighbouring countries. However, such behaviour had incurred strong protest and condemnation from peace-loving people across the world, she said.

In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency, Secretary of International Relations of the Communist Party of Argentina Jorge Alberto Kreyness expressed his belief that Viet Nam and China would solve the dispute peacefully, on the basis of respecting international law, particularly the UNCLOS.

Ezequiel Ramoneda, co-ordinator of the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies at Argentina's La Plata National University, has advocated Viet Nam's stance on settling the dispute through dialogue. He commented that China's deeds were politically motivated and had escalated tension and instability in the region.

Juan Carlos Minghetti from the Centre for Economic and Social Studies said China's illegal placement of its oil rig and its dispatch of warships and aircraft showed that Beijing was seeking to address the dispute with a smaller country using military power. — VNS

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