|" China's attacks had so far damaged 36 Vietnamese ships, including fishery management vessels, waterway police ships and fishing boats." said Ha Le, deputy head of the Fishing Surveillance Department. — Photo Vnexpress
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam had adequate evidence to prove that its vessels had never deliberately rammed Chinese ships, as the Chinese media has claimed, in fact the truth was the other way around, said Ha Le, deputy head of the Fishing Surveillance Department yesterday.
Le made the statement at an international press conference on the East Sea in Ha Noi yesterday.
Evidence of China's aggression towards Viet Nam was shown in video clips filmed in the East Sea after the Chinese oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 was positioned on Viet Nam's continental shelf and exclusive economic zone in May.
Le said that Vietnamese fishing boats operating within Viet Nam's waters had been frequently harassed by Chinese ships.
He cited the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat, DNa-90152-TS on May 26, after being rammed by Chinese vessel No.11209 as the most serious example of China's aggression.
Rear Admiral Ngo Ngoc Thu, vice commander of Viet Nam Coast Guard, said China had "used false allegations and fabrications to slander Viet Nam."
He said it had alleged provocations, including false accusations in the Chinese media that Viet Nam had deployed "frogmen, floating items and fishing nets to hinder the activities of the Chinese ships around the rig."
Thu said many of the items collected by China in the area were washed or knocked overboard from Vietnamese ships that had been fired at by high pressure water cannons or rammed by Chinese ships.
Thu also referred to China's allegation that Vietnamese ships had attempted to ram Chinese vessels more than 1,500 times as "groundless".
He presented video clips showing it was actually China that was doing the ramming. The clips also showed Chinese vessels aggressively firing strong water cannons at Vietnamese vessels.
He said China's aggression had been witnessed by domestic and international reporters who were in the area and witnessed the events.
Thu said Viet Nam had never attempted to use violence or threatened to use violence towards China and had only asked for peaceful solutions via mutual talks and negotiations to solve East Sea tensions.
He said China's attacks had so far damaged 36 Vietnamese ships, including fishery management vessels, waterway police ships and fishing boats.
He added that the attacks had also injured 15 fisher surveillance officials and two fishermen.
Le, from the Fishing Surveillance Department, said China had maintained about 120 ships around the rig every day, including military ships, and helicopters to threaten Vietnamese ships.
Tran Duy Hai, deputy director of the National Boundary Commission under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Viet Nam had more than 30 times contacted Chinese agencies, yet China had refused to hold serious negotiations.
Meanwhile, Nguyen Quoc Thap, deputy general director of Viet Nam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) said Viet Nam had had more than 100 agreements with many oil companies including those from the United States, India, Russia and Canada to probe for oil in the East Sea.
Le Hai Binh, spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reiterated Viet Nam's request that China remove its oil rig from Viet Nam's waters and reaffirmed the country's position of reaching a solution by peaceful means.
During the conference, Viet Nam presented evidence on video clips and historical documents that the country had long had sovereignty over the Hong Sa (Paracel) islands, which China illegally invaded in 1974, since at least the 17th century during the Nguyen Dynasty.
Protests in Europe
In an echo of previous German-based protests against China's deployment of the Haiyang Shiyou – 981 oil rig in Vietnamese waters, nearly 7,000 Vietnamese and foreign citizens staged their third protest march from downtown Berlin to the Chinese embassy on Sunday.
They marched from Alexanderpatz Square in eastern Berlin and listened to a speech in German disclosing China's wrongful and blatant acts in Viet Nam's continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.
In response to the organisers' appeals, representatives from Vietnamese associations across the cities of Rostock, Hannover and Erfurt also voiced their unity with coast guards and fishermen at home.
On behalf of German residents, Chairman of the Germany – Viet Nam Association Siegfried Sommer and Chairwoman of the Reistrommel Association Tamara Hentschel spoke out against China's aggressive actions in front of the crowd.
China's deployment of the rig was unacceptable, wrongful and shameful, Udo, a local protestor, said.
On the same day in the Czech city of Teblice, over 100 Vietnamese Catholics and Buddhists from Prague, Brno, Pilsen, Tabor and Ostrava prayed for peace at home.
Earlier, they also raised donations in support of Vietnamese soldiers and fishermen. — VNS