10/05/2014 00:01 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

China Seriously Violates Vietnam’s Sovereignty in the East Sea

Recently, the domestic and international community has raised their voices to express serious concern and have protested China’s illegal action when it brazenly moved its Haiyang Shiyou – 981 drilling rig escorted by armed and military vessels and many airplanes to Vietnam’s water and installed the rig 80 miles into the Vietnamese continental shelf and exclusive economic zone prescribed by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS). China’s action gravely violates Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa Archipelago as well as the sovereign right and jurisdiction over its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf and directly threatens peace, stability and maritime security and safety in the East Sea.
The On-going Developments in the East Sea

On May 1, 2014, authorities of Vietnam detected Haiyang Shiyou – 981 drilling rig and three oil and gas service ships of China moving southward from northwest of Tri Ton Island of the Hoang Sa Archipelago of Vietnam. By 16h00 on May 2, 2014, the drilling rig was floated at 15o29’58” north latitude, 111o12’ 06’’ east longitude, south of Tri Ton Island, which is 80 miles into the Vietnamese Continental Shelf, 119 nautical miles from Ly Son Island and 130 miles from Vietnam’s coast line.

China installed this oil rig to conduct exploration drills in the Vietnamese Continental Shelf and mobilized 80 vessels of different kinds, including 7 millitary ships, rocket ships guardian 534 ( Jiang Hu 2 ), fast attack missile boat 753 and 33 marine scenes , maritime surveillance and transport ships , fishing vessels and dozens of low-flying aircraft to protect its rig and hinder Vietnam’s coast guards from law enforcement activities. China's armed vessels aggressively fired high-powered water cannons at and intentionally rammed Vietnamese law enforcement ships, causing damage to many ships and injuring many people on board.
 

Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh speaks at the internal press conference on China’s installation of its
Haiyang Shiyou – 981 drilling rig  (referred to as HD 981 by Vietnam) in Vietnam’s waters. Photo: Thong Nhat/VNA


Deputy Chairman of the National Boundary Commission Tran Duy Hai answers reporters’ questions
about China’s installment of a drilling rig in Vietnam’s waters. Photo: An Dang/VNA
The map shows the position of China’s drilling rig in Vietnam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.

China's armed vessels aggressively fire high-power water cannons and intentionally ram Vietnamese law enforcement ships. .
 

  A Vietnamese vessel’s damage is seen after the collision.

Repairing a vessel of Vietnam’s coast guard which was damaged by China’s ships.
 
Up to May 13, 2014 China used 9 types of vessels to protect its Haiyang Shiyou – 981 drilling rig and illegally operating in Vietnam’s waters, such as millitary vessels of rocket ships guardian 524, fast attack missel boats No. 752 , 753 and 754, maritime surveillance vessel No. 786, coast guard ships, patrol vessels, fishing boats, transport ships, etc.

Vietnam Resolutely Fights Against China’s Violation Through Peaceful Means

Since May 1, Vietnam’s law enforcement has been at the scene to stop the Chinese illegal intrusion into Vietnam’s territorial waters. They have signaled a request the Chinese to move the oil rig and vessels from Vietnam’s territorial waters. They have exercised the utmost restraint in the face of the Chinese ship’s aggressive acts and have firmly protected Vietnam’s sovereignty and jurisdiction over its Hoang Sa Archipelago, its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf through peaceful means.

On May 6, Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh held a phone conversation with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi about China’s Haiyang Shiyou – 981 drilling rig and its ships operating at oil and gas field 143 on Vietnam’s continental shelf from May 1, 2014.

Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh hold a phone conversation
with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi about China’s Haiyang Shiyou – 981 drilling rig
and its ships operating on Vietnam’s continental shelf. Photo: Duong Giang – VNA


At the 24th ASEAN Summit, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung expresses
deep concern over China’s escalating actions in the East Sea. Photo: Duc Tam – VNA


The 24th ASEAN Summit held in Myanmar approved the Nay Pyi Taw Declaration
and the Statement of Chairman of the 24th ASEAN Summit. Photo: Duc Tam –VNA
 
Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh said that China’s unilaterally bringing the drilling rig and the presence of a large number of Chinese vessels including military boats are illegal and run contrary to international law and practices, and seriously violate Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa Archipelago and Vietnam’s sovereignty and jurisdiction over its exclusive economic zones and continental shelf. Vietnam cannot accept this and resolutely protests China’s action and asks China to withdraw Haiyang Shiyou – 981 drilling rig and all escort ships from this area and to begin negotiations to resolve differences over this issue.

On May 7, the Foreign Ministry, the National Boundary Commission, the Vietnam Coast Guard High Command and the Department of Fisheries Resources Surveillance under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development held an international press conference to inform the public of China’s illegal action when it brazenly moved its Haiyang Shiyou – 981 drilling rig to the Vietnamese waters and its ship’s aggressive acts.
At the 24th ASEAN Summit held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myamar Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung officially informed ASEAN member countries about the serious situation in the East Sea.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung emphasised that China’s action gravely violates international law, the 1982 UNCLOS, and the Declaration of Conduct of the Parties in the East Sea (DOC) to which China is a signatory. This extremely dangerous action has been and is directly threatening peace, stability and maritime security and safety in the East Sea.

Vietnam has exercised utmost restraint, showed every gesture of goodwill and exhausted all dialogue channels to communicate with the Chinese authorities at different levels for expressing protest and demanding that China immediately withdraw its drilling rig and armed and military vessels from Vietnamese waters. Nevertheless, up to now, China has failed to respond to Vietnam’s legitimate demand. On the contrary, China has been slandering and blaming Vietnam while continuing to escalate its increasingly dangerous and serious acts of violation.

International Opinion Condemns China's Escalation of Tensions in the East Sea

During these days, international opinion and world media have voiced concern over and reported the news about China’s illegal action when it brazenly moved its Haiyang Shiyou – 981 drilling rig into Vietnam’s waters. Many world’s news agencies, such as AP (the US), AFP (France), Reuters (the UK), DPA (Germany) and prestigious newspapers such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Deutsch Welles and Straits Times, have stimutanously reported the news of an international press conference on China’s ships intentionally ramming Vietnamese law enforcement ships held on May 7 in Hanoi.

On May 8, the spokesman of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission issued a statement, expressing concern about recent incidents involving China and Vietnam relating to the movements of Chinese drilling rig. 
 

The Vietnam Peace and Development Foundation issues a statement opposing
China’s illegal deployment of an oilrig in Vietnam’s waters. Photo: An Dang – VNA


Quang Nam Province’s Fishery Trade Union protests China’s illegal deployment
of an drilling rig in Vietnam’s waters. Photo: Doan Huu Trung – VNA



Ho Chi Minh City’s Lawyers Association and locals held a meeting
to protest China’s illegal action in the East Sea. Photo: Thanh Vu – VNA




Locals in Can Tho protest China’s illegal deployment of an oilrig in Vietnam’s waters. Photo: Duy Khuong – VNA
 
“In particular, the EU is concerned that unilateral actions could affect the security environment in the region, as evidenced by reports about the recent collision of Vietnamese and Chinese vessels,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson urged all parties concerned to seek peaceful and cooperative solutions in accordance with international law, in particular the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and to continue ensuring safety and freedom of navigation.

On May 9, UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon voiced his concern about the escalating tensions in the East Sea after China unilaterally installed its oil rig in the exclusive economic zone of Vietnam and urged the parties concerned to exercise the utmost restraint and resolve disputes in a peaceful manner.
On May 12, US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed the US's concern about China's illegal deployment of its drilling rig and escort vessels in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone, describing it as an ‘aggressive’ action.

At the 24th ASEAN Summit held in Myanmar, ASEAN leaders approved the Nay Pyi Taw Declaration on building an ASEAN Community by 2015 and a Chairman’s Statement on the summit’s results. At the same time, ASEAN leaders agreed to approve the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Statement on the Current Developments in the East Sea. The Chairman’s Statement expressed deep concern over the tense situation in the East Sea and affirmed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security and maritime safety and freedom in the East Sea. It called on all parties to fully and effectively implement this Statement to create a reliable environment and build trust; exercise restraint and non use of force in the East Sea, solve disputes through peaceful means in accordance with international laws and the 1982 UNCLOS and fully implement DOC. It emphasized the need to promptly achieve a Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea and recognized the importance of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Statement on the Current Development in the East Sea.”

It is the first time in two decades since 1995 that ASEAN has released a separate declaration on a complicated situation that threatens peace and maritime security and safety in the East Sea and shows the solidarity, large consensus, active role and responsibility of ASEAN for peace, stability and security in the East Sea in particular and in the region in general, strongly affirming the principles of international law and of ASEAN. 
 
 
UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon voice his concern about the escalating tensions in the East Sea. Photo: Source Vietnamplus


Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong: “ASEAN must have a view on several incidents in the East Sea
because the security and stability of the region depend on what happens in the sea. Photo: Source Vietnamplus


US Senator John McCain describes Chinese ships swarming and ramming Vietnamese coastguard ships as aggressive acts
and says that China bears full responsibility for this unilateral attempt to change the status. Photo: Source Vietnamplus

Anton Svetov, an expert of Russia’s External Relations Council, says that China’s placement of drilling rig
is 220km from Vietnam’s coast and is located in Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone
according to the 1982 UNCLOS. Photo: Source Vietnamplus
 
During the past few days, many experts in the world, including prestigious Chinese scholars, also expressed deep concern over the tense situation in the East Sea.

Associate Prof. Wei Min from the Institute of Afro-Asian Studies at Beijing University emphasized that if the incident was not resolved as soon as possible, no matter what explanation the Chinese Government provides, the reputation and reliability of the government will decline dramatically, and this will worsen the turbulent situation in the South China Sea. Chinese scholar Li Linghua said that as a signatory to the 1982 UNCLOS, China must comply with articles 74 and 83 of the convention and respect the continental shelf and exclusive economic zone which extended out 200 nautical miles from adjacent coasts.

China's recent illegal acts in the East Sea have seriously infringed on Vietnam's sovereignty, running counter to international law and practices and damaging the trust held by the world community. Vietnam will take all necessary and proper measures to defend its legitimate rights and benefits and safeguard its sovereignty. For the Vietnamese nation, national sovereignty is supreme. No one has the right to violate Vietnam’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
 
By VNA/VNP
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