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Timing of suing China under scrutiny

(10:11:07 AM 27/06/2014)
(Tinmoitruong.vn) - Taking legal action is one of peaceful measures that is receiving support from the international community, said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Le Hai Binh.


In his statement at a Foreign Ministry press briefing in Hanoi on June 26, Binh said the oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 escorted by a large number of ships and aircraft  are still operating in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).


China has escalated tension by deploying the Nan Hai No 9 drilling platform and an exploration vessel in the mouth of Bac Bo Gulf, where the demarcation has not been completed.  He also denounced China’s recent publication of two maps with nine dotted line shape covering all the East Sea.


 “The portrait shaped maps with the “nine-dash” line claim of all the East Sea was a flagrant violation of international law. This demand has been repeatedly rejected by the world community.” the Vietnamese diplomat said.


Binh said that according to international law, no party is entitled to conduct exploration and exploitation activities in the area that is yet to be delineated. This action that took place following the recent visit to Vietnam by Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi has raised the international community and Vietnam’s concern.


Vietnam vehemently opposes this wrongful act by China and demands it immediately stop similar actions in the future while complying with international law.


However, earlier on June 23,  Vietnam's fisheries surveillance vessels were circled and rammed by Chinese ships in Vietnam’s EEZ, approximately 11.5 nautical miles from the drilling rig 981, causing great damage, Binh added.


German politician concerned about East Sea situation


Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has expressed concern about recent tensions in the East Sea after China positioned its oil platform Haiyang Shiyou-981 deep inside Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone.


While receiving Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang in Berlin on June 25, Gabriel, who is also Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, asked his guest to update him on the latest developments in the East Sea.


Hoang briefed his host on China’s recent moves, including the use of force to occupy several islands of the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos of Vietnam, that are complicating and causing tensions in the East Sea.


Vietnam has sufficient historical evidence and legal foundations to assert its sovereignty over the two groups of islands in the East Sea, he said.


He went on the said that with its groundless ‘nine-dash line’ claim, China has brazenly infringed upon Vietnam’s sovereignty by towing its floating rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 to Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.


Minister Hoang voiced Vietnam’s consistent policy of resolutely defending its sovereignty and resolving the dispute by peaceful measures in accordance with international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).


“Vietnam has suffered untold losses from past wars, therefore it is aware of the value of peace, freedom and justice,” said Hoang. “It does not want wars and disputes, and it believes in the victory of justice in this struggle”.


 For his part, Gabriel, who is also chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), expressed his admiration for Vietnam’s struggle for national liberation and reconstruction in the past. He showed his concern about the situation in the East Sea and said German people support Vietnam’s stance.


Oslo seminar sheds light on East Sea tensions


Escalating tensions in the East Sea and their impact on regional security were the centrepiece of a seminar held in Oslo, Norway, on June 24 by the Vietnamese embassy and the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI).


Hoang Anh Tuan, director of the Institute for Foreign Policy and Strategic Studies (IFPSS) under the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, noted that Vietnam has sufficient historical evidence and legal foundations to assert its undisputable sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos.


Notably, he said, Vietnam had administratively managed and not been engaged in any disputes about the Paracel archipelago until China used force to control the group of islands in 1974.


China’s placement of its drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 deep inside Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone is completely illegal, and its nine-dash line claim in the East Sea is groundless, running counter to the 1982 UN Convention n the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).


China’s deliberate use of force attempting to control the area within its nine-dash line is the root cause of tensions in the East Sea, Tuan said.


He asked Norwegian scholars and the international community to voice their opposition and ask China to fully observe international law, and stop unilateral actions detrimental to peace, security and stability in the region.


NUPI communications director Dr Asmund Weltzien, NUPI scholars and Filipino ambassador to Norway Bayani S. Mercado said the seminar helped them understand more the territorial dispute in the East Sea, as well as threats to regional security and stability.


They expressed concern about China’s unilateral and aggressive actions, and stressed that only peaceful negotiations on the basis of mutual respect and international law bring everlasting peace and stability for East Asia.


Mexico gathering protests China’s illegal acts


The Mexico-Vietnam Cooperation and Friendship Institute (MVCFI) held a meeting in front of the Chinese Embassy in Mexico City on June 25, castigating China’s illegal acts in the East Sea.


MVCFI leaders, together with 100 members, 8 Mexican media agencies and some socio-political organisations raised national flags of Vietnam and Mexico and posters demanding China respect Vietnam’s sovereignty and international laws and withdraw the oil rig and escort vessels from Vietnam’s waters.


MVCFI Honourable President Virgilio Caballero delivered the institute’s open statement, condemning China’s illegal acts, including deploying a large fleet of armed vessels, military ships and aircraft to prevent and attack Vietnamese law enforcement forces. Notably, a Chinese ship hit a Vietnamese fishing boat with 10 fishermen on board, causing it to sink on May 26.


The statement said that these actions are a serious violation of the agreement on basic principles guiding the settlement of sea-related issues signed by the two countries in October 2011, run counter to the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, and intentionally disregard the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.


The MVCFI called on Chinese leaders to respect signed agreements with Vietnam and international organisations, to resolve disputes by peaceful means.


It also asked China to withdraw the drilling oil rig and escort ships out of Vietnam’s waters, end all aggression to lessen tensions in the East Sea and promote mutual understanding between the two nations.


It asked the Mexican Government, especially Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Meade, to send a diplomatic note to the Chinese Government, highlighting basic principles and conventions and agreements on peace signed under the UN framework.


The statement urged the Mexican Senate to send a message to the Chinese and Vietnamese Governments, urging them to maintain peace in the region, and called on Mexican citizens to take part in a campaign for peace and sovereignty in Vietnam.


After the meeting, the MVCFI delivered the statement to the Chinese Embassy in Mexico.


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