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New China map makes bogus East Sea claim

Update: June, 27/2014 - 08:37
Le Hai Binh, spokesperson for the Foreign Affairs Ministry. — Photo bizlive

HA NOI (VNS)— Viet Nam has strongly condemned the publication of a Chinese map showing that it owns almost the entire East Sea.

This has further complicated the situation in the East Sea. In May, China placed an oil rig in Vietnamese waters.

Le Hai Binh, spokesperson for the Foreign Affairs Ministry, told a press conference yesterday that the publication of the map by the Hunan Map Publishing House clearly violated international law and Viet Nam's national sovereignty.

Binh said that despite the recent visit to Ha Noi by Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi, China continued with its aggressive actions.

This included putting the Spratly and Paracel Islands of Viet Nam into a new Chinese land registration system, opening a school project on Phu Lam Island belonging to Viet Nam's Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago - and expanding and transforming many parts of Spratly Island.

"We have many times re-affirmed Viet Nam's stance towards the Spratly and Paracel Islands, strongly condemning the wrongful acts and asking China to respect international law and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC)," Binh said.

Binh said Viet Nam also denounced China's latest placement of the Nanhai 9 drilling platform off the Gulf of Tonkin, but said it was within undefined waters between China and Viet Nam. However, according to international law, no countries have authority to start exploratory activities in this area.

Viet Nam closely monitored other Chinese oil rigs in the East Sea, but was committed to using peaceful solutions to solve the situation, said Binh.

At the press conference, Ha Le, deputy head of Viet Nam's Fishing Surveillance Department, confirmed that 27 Vietnamese fishing surveillance vessels had been damaged and 15 fishing surveillance officers had been injured during nearly two-months of turmoil.

Le refuted a recent claim by the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry that said that Viet Nam's vessels intentionally rammed Chinese civilian vessels.

More condemnation

The Philippines' Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday also criticised China's publication of a map that covers nearly all waters and islands in the East Sea, affirming that it violates international law.

This act of China is completely unacceptable as it runs counter to international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to which China is a party, the ministry said in its statement.

The ministry's spokesman Charles Jose described China's "ambitious expansionism" as the reason for the current tensions in the East Sea. The official asserted that territorial and maritime disputes must be resolved at an international arbitral court.

Meanwhile, the Mexico – Viet Nam Friendship and Cooperation Institute (MVCFI) on Wednesday held a meeting in front of the Chinese Embassy in Mexico City to protest China's illegal stationing of the oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 in Viet Nam's continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

About 100 members of the institute and representatives from media agencies and socio-political organisations of Mexico participated in the event, carrying placards and banners demanding China respect Viet Nam's sovereignty, immediately withdraw the rig and escort ships from Viet Nam's waters, and comply with international law.

At the event, MVCFI Honorary President Virgilio Caballero read a statement denouncing China's deployment of the rig along with a large number of vessels and aircraft to protect the rig and attack Vietnamese ships.

The document said such acts of China seriously violate the agreement on basic principles guiding the settlement of issues at sea agreed by the Vietnamese and Chinese Governments in October 2011, and run counter to the 2002 ASEAN – China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea. The moves also defy international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, it added.

In the statement, MVCFI called upon Chinese leaders to respect the agreements, especially those containing commitments to solving disputes peacefully, reached with their Vietnamese counterparts and international organisations.

The institute demanded that China remove the rig and all escort ships from Viet Nam's waters and stop ramming into Vietnamese ships in order to ease the tension and enhance mutual understanding.

They also asked the Mexican Government, particularly Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Meade, to send a diplomatic note to the Chinese Government to clarify basic principles and international agreements signed within the UN framework.

After the meeting, MVCFI leaders handed over the statement to representatives of the Chinese Embassy.

Also on Wednesday, the Viet Nam Lawyers' Association (VLA) issued another declaration protesting against China's actions that are escalating tensions in Viet Nam's waters.

The association asserted that the acts of China are clearly the use of force which seriously violated Viet Nam's sovereignty and human rights, running counter to the United Nations Charter and international law, particularly the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

These violent acts in reality are a far cry from what China often says as "only normal law enforcement activities," the association said.

The VLA demanded that the Chinese side immediately get the rig out of Viet Nam 's waters and end all force-using acts that threaten the life of Vietnamese people.

However, if China deliberately does not abide by the UN Charter and international law and continues infringing Viet Nam's sovereignty, sovereign right and jurisdiction, the Viet Nam Lawyers' Association, with more than 46,000 members, called on the Vietnamese government to take legal actions in line with international law. The association pledged its support of the Government in such a move. — VNS

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