|The Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance Department reported that China had 110-114 ships of various kinds around oil rig Haiyang Shiyou – 981 yesterday. — Photo tuoitre
HA NOI (VNS)— China continued to maintain its illegal presence and aggression in Vietnamese waters yesterday as more condemnation of its actions came from US and Philippine officials.
The Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance Department reported that China had 110-114 ships of various kinds around oil rig Haiyang Shiyou – 981 yesterday. It had illegally placed the rig in Viet Nam's continental shelf and exclusive economic zone early last month.
The Chinese fleet includes 43 coast guard, 14 cargo, 34 fishing ships, 17 tugboats and six military vessels, it said.
From 9.00-9:36 a.m, a reconnaissance aircraft was seen flying at the height of 1,000-2,000m above the rig, then heading northwest.
When Vietnamese fisheries surveillance ships approached the rig at a distance of 10-11.5 nautical miles to demand China immediately remove the rig and its ships out of Vietnamese waters, Chinese ships again formed a line, sped up and sounded their sirens, showing they were ready to ram the Vietnamese ships again.
And as Vietnamese fishing ships operated in their traditional fishing grounds 40-44 nautical miles from the rig, they were obstructed by nearly 40 Chinese fishing vessels backed by their fisheries surveillance ships 46102 and 46106.
Meanwhile, the Viet Nam Bar Federation (VBF) yesterday issued its second statement protesting China's repeated use of force in the East Sea to change the status of Viet Nam's sovereignty over its waters.
It noted that on May 2, China had illegally placed its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou – 981 deep inside Viet Nam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in the East Sea.
Since then, the transgressor has increased escort ships around the rig by a large number, going up to more than 130. These included missile mounted ships, coast guard vessels, cargo vessels, fishing ships and several aircraft, paying no heed to public protests across Viet Nam and the world.
The VBF asserted that China had violated the United Nations Charter, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, and the China- Viet Nam high-level agreement on principles guiding the settlement of issues at sea.
It strongly condemned China's inhumane acts that have caused widespread damage to the property and health of Vietnamese law enforcement officials and fishermen.
It demanded that China immediately removes the rig from Viet Nam's waters and pay compensation to Vietnamese victims of its aggression.
In the statement, the VBF suggested that the government files a lawsuit against China with international jurisdiction agencies. It vowed to rally support of people at home as well as the world community for Viet Nam's fight for justice.
No legal basis
US Ambassador to the Philippines, Philip Goldberg, on Thursday voiced his support for the Southeast Asian country's protest against China's publication of a new map that covers nearly all the waters and islands in the East Sea as Chinese territory.
Goldberg said the "10-dash map" uses the same basic principle as the so-called "nine-dash line" claimed by China earlier. However, these claims have no basis in international law, he stated.
China's move had violated the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, he said, adding that attempts by one country to infringe on another's lawful use of the sea was a matter of concern.
The new map was published by the Hunan publishing house on June 23. — VNS