No country has the right to arrogantly and callously ask Việt Nam to stop exploring oil and gas fields in waters where Việt Nam holds sovereignty and sovereign rights, says the Vietnam News Agency
The Tư Chính reef (internationally known as Vanguard Bank) is located in Việt Nam’s 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone and completely belongs to the country, defined in line with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS).
According to the 1982 UNCLOS’s Article 56, in their exclusive economic zones, states enjoy sovereign rights over the natural resources, whether living or non-living, of the waters overlying the seabed and of the seabed and its subsoil, and other activities like energy production from water, currents or winds.
Therefore, all activities by foreign countries in Việt Nam’s waters must be conducted in line with regulations of the 1982 UNCLOS and Vietnamese law. Actions not allowed by Việt Nam are violations of the country’s waters, international law and the 1982 UNCLOS.
Per international law and the 1982 UNCLOS, no country has the right to arrogantly and callously ask Việt Nam to stop exploring oil and gas fields in waters where Việt Nam holds sovereignty and sovereign rights.
Any accusation that Việt Nam is “unilaterally” conducting oil and gas exploration in the country’s exclusive economic zone is completely unreasonable.
It's fair to ask if any such statement is aimed at turning the undisputed Vietnamese waters into a disputed area to impose a situation of “power belongs to powers” and an indication of the wish to exercise hegemony over the East Sea?
The Tư Chính reef is located near the international navigation route and plays an important role in Việt Nam’s economic building and development, as well as the country’s maritime sovereignty protection.
Việt Nam’s territorial land and waters would be in a normal condition without violations that ignore international law and complicate the situation.
As a country that experienced decades of war, Việt Nam always attaches importance to peace, friendship and cooperation, and is ready to address with good will issues arising in international relations by political means.
It is Việt Nam’s consistent policy to use peaceful measures in accordance with international law and the 1982 UNCLOS to struggle against any violation of the country’s sovereignty, sovereign right and jurisdiction in its waters as prescribed in the 1982 UNCLOS.
On that basis, Việt Nam has been implementing peaceful measures to protect its legitimate rights and interests.
Given China’s geological survey vessel group Haiyang Dizhi 8 violating Việt Nam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in the south of the East Sea, the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson earlier this week said Việt Nam had contacted the Chinese side many times via different channels, handed over protest diplomatic notes and demanded China immediately withdraw all of its vessels from Việt Nam’s waters and to respect Việt Nam’s sovereign right and jurisdiction, for the sake of the relations between the two countries and for regional stability and peace.
The official also highlighted that Việt Nam’s competent maritime forces had taken many suitable measures to exercise the country’s sovereignty and jurisdiction peacefully and legally to safeguard national waters.
Maintaining regional peace and order, and ensuring maritime security and safety in the East Sea, including the Tư Chính reef, on the basis of international law, would benefit the common interests of countries in the region and the international community.
Therefore, Việt Nam has been making efforts to fulfil the role of a responsible nation in the international community, and hopes other countries will seriously implement international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, to build a region of peace and stability, contributing to promoting peace and development in the world. — VNS
China’s actions violate Việt Nam’s sovereignty within EEZ: US Congressman
Representative Eliot L Engel, Chairman of the US House of Representatives’ Committee on Foreign Affairs, on July 26 (US time) issued a statement on Chinese interference in Vietnamese-controlled waters, in which he said China’s actions constitute a violation of Vietnamese sovereignty and its rights within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
“China’s recent aggression in the South China Sea [called East Sea by Việt Nam] is a disturbing demonstration of a country openly flouting international law. Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, China’s actions constitute a violation of Vietnamese sovereignty and its legitimate rights within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ),” said the statement.
Since reports broke last week that Chinese oil exploration ships entered Viet Nam’s EEZ, Việt Nam had made repeated requests for their removal – requests China had willfully ignored. This kind of harassment was a threat to Việt Nam and evidence of China’s willingness to bully its neighbours, Engel said.
“Incidents like this demonstrate China’s blatant disregard for international law and diplomacy,” he said.
He said he supported Việt Nam and US regional partners in condemning this aggression. The international community must continue to uphold the rules-based order and international law, he added.
He called on China to “immediately withdraw any and all ships from the territorial waters of its neighbours, and to put an end to these illegal bullying tactics.” — VNS