Vietnam will use all peaceful measures as stipulated in the United Nations Charter and international law to safeguard its rights and interests in the East Sea.
Tran Duy Hai, Deputy Director of the National Boundary Commission (NBC) made the affirmation in an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency after China illegally brought its oil rig into Vietnam’s waters, brazenly violating Vietnam’s sovereign right and jurisdiction in the East Sea.
He affirmed that Vietnam has sufficient historical evidence to prove its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes as well as its sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its waters in line with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982).
“In any circumstance and from any angle, China’s move of bringing the oil rig and dozens of vessels of all kinds into Vietnam’s waters is unlawful and runs counter to provisions of international law, and Vietnam strongly protests these acts,” Hai said.
Asked about China’s statement at a press conference on May 8 that it would only sit down for negotiations when Vietnam withdraws ships from the area where China is attempting to position the oil rig, the official made clear that as the area is entirely in Vietnam’s sovereign right and jurisdiction, the presence of Vietnam’s law enforcement forces, which are the coast guard and the fisheries surveillance agency, at the site to exercise management measures is totally in line with international law.
He stressed that the most important thing now is China must withdraw all its vessels and the oil rig from that area.
In response to China’s allegation that Vietnamese ships intentionally crashed into Chinese vessels, the official said many reporters asked for more information at a Chinese press conference on May 8, but Chinese officials could not provide any reply nor specific evidence or images to back up the claim.
Hai added that China could not prove this allegation because Vietnamese ships at the site were all civilian vessels and did not make any provocative act towards the Chinese side.
It was the Chinese ships which deliberately took provocative actions towards Vietnamese vessels, he said, noting that Vietnam publicised many images at the recent international press conference to prove this.
The official reiterated that Vietnam pursues the consistent policy of safeguarding the sovereignty, sovereignty right and jurisdiction of its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, and the country is also consistent in dealing with disputes through peaceful measures in line with the UN Charters and international law.