(5 June 2 014 in Hanoi)
It has been over a month since China illegally installed its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 within Viet Nam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone. Viet Nam has made efforts to communicate with China under different forms and at different levels to demand the latter end all acts that have violated Viet Nam’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction, respect Viet Nam’s sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracels) Islands, and immediately withdraw the oil rig and its escort vessels before both sides can work out measures to stabilize the situation and control maritime issues between them. To date, Viet Nam has made more than 30 communications of all types with China. The Vietnamese maritime law enforcement vessels have also exercised utmost restraint in demanding China immediately withdraw the oil rig and escort vessels from the Vietnamese waters. The international community has expressed appreciation of the manner in which Viet Nam exercised self-restraint and handled the situation, and at the same time, condemned China’s wrongdoings.
Notwithstanding the efforts and goodwill of Viet Nam, China continued its illegal activities and responded negatively by slandering and blaming Viet Nam for the tension. More dangerously, China escalated the tension on the field by relocating the oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 to a new location at 15-33.38 N/111-34.62 E, which is 60 nautical miles deep inside Viet Nam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone. China also increased the number of the escort fleet around the oil rig illegally deployed in the Vietnamese waters. At high time, there were up to 140 Chinese ships, including military ships of various types (missile frigates, fast attack missile crafts, anti-submarine crafts, landing crafts and jet fighters). Chinese ships have surrounded, rammed and fired water cannon at Vietnamese civilian law enforcement ships, which are on duty in the waters within Viet Nam’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction. The attacks have injured Vietnamese fishery control officers on board, and damaged several Vietnamese maritime law enforcement vessels. In particular, on 26 May 2014 Chinese ships rammed and sank the Vietnamese fishing boat DNa 90152, which was conducting normal fishing activity in Viet Nam’s exclusive economic zone, about 17 nautical miles from the oil rig, thus escalating the tension. More dangerously, Chinese vessels inhumanely attempted to prevent Vietnamese ships from rescuing the fishermen of the sunken boat. On 1 June 2014, Chinese ships again rammed and broke holes in the on-duty Vietnamese Maritime Police ship CSB 2016. Such acts by China have exacerbated the tension in the East Sea, seriously threatening peace, stability, maritime safety and security in the region, causing grave concerns among the international community and anger among the Vietnamese. Viet Nam has made strong protests against China’s acts.
On 23 May 2014, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent the Second Note Verbale to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs demanding the latter withdraw the oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 before both sides can negotiate to define the legal status of the location where China installed the oil rig. To date, China has yet to respond the Viet Nam’s Note Verbale.
On 4 June 2014, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs the Third Note Verbale demanding the latter seriously observe international law, immediately end acts of violating Viet Nam’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction within Viet Nam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone, immediately withdraw the oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 and its escort vessels from the Vietnamese waters, and not repeat similar actions in the future. The third Note Verbale from Viet Nam also demanded China settle maritime disputes as well as the issue of China’s illegal installation of the oil rig in Viet Nam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone by negotiations or other peaceful measures in conformity with international law, including the UNCLOS 1982.
Viet Nam hopes that the international community, the media agencies worldwide will continue to raise their fair and impartial voice protesting China’s wrongdoings in defence of justice and righteousness./.