Friday, May 9, 2014

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Vietnam not to make concession to China’s wrongful acts

Vietnam’s law enforcement forces at sea will make no concession to China’s recent wrongful acts, including the illicit deployment of an oil rig in Vietnamese waters and the attacks by the rig’s escort ships on Vietnamese ships that tried to drive away the Chinese encroaching vessels.

A Vietnamese boat is blasted with water cannons from a Chinese ship
 (R) in Vietnam's waters in the East Sea.
This statement manifests the same determination of the Vietnam Coast Guard, the fisheries surveillance force, and law experts, who have strongly opposed the fact that China has illicitly sent about 80 Chinese vessels, including warships, to Vietnam’s waters in the East Vietnam Sea to guard Chinese oil rig HD 981 that has illegally operated in the waters since May 1.

As reported by the Vietnam Coast Guard, many of these Chinese vessels rammed Vietnamese ships three times when they were requested by the Vietnamese side to leave the waters.
The collisions occurred on May 3, 4, and 7, during which several Vietnamese ships were damaged and six fisheries surveillance staff on board were wounded when hit by pieces of broken glass during the attacks.

Not to yield

“I would like report to people nationwide that our fisheries surveillance force will make no concession to China’s violations of Vietnam’s sovereignty,” Vuong Manh Hoa, who represented the Fisheries Surveillance Sub-Team 3 stationed in Son Tra District, central Da Nang City, told Tuoi Tre newspaper on May 8.

Hoa made the statement while receiving the newspaper’s representatives who visited and gave gifts valued at VND5 million (US$237) each to the six fisheries surveillance staff on Thursday.

Vessels of the sub-team continue to operate in the waters where the oil rig is located to drive away it and its escort ships, Hoa said.

“We are always ready and will never yield to China’s wrongful acts,” he added.

Tuoi Tre representatives also presented the sub-team a portrait photo of the late General Vo Nguyen Giap in hopes that the image of the general will always accompany those who are protecting the country’s sovereignty over seas and islands.

Resolute action

“If we do not take decisive counteractions or take weak responses to China’s encroachment, the Chinese will continue to go ahead with its wrongful acts to illegally claim its sovereignty in Vietnamese waters in the East Vietnam Sea,” Ngo Huu Phuoc, head of the International Law Department at Ho Chi Minh City Law University, told Tuoi Tre on Thursday.

China has boldly claimed that the sea area where the drilling rig is operating is under Chinese jurisdiction, based on the nine-dash line, which China announced in 2009 to illegitimately claim its sovereignty over much of the East Vietnam Sea, including Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos, Phuoc said.

But this nine-dash line has no legal foundation, so both Vietnam and the international community have continually rejected it.

In fact, the rig is located at 15°29’58’’ North latitude and 111°12’06’’ East longitude in the East Vietnam Sea, within the Vietnamese exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, about 119 nautical miles from Ly Son Island off the central Vietnamese province of Quang Ngai and 18 nautical miles south of Tri Ton Island of Vietnam’s Hoang Sa archipelago, he said.

By illicitly locating its oil rig there and banning all vessels from entering the area within a radius of three nautical miles of the platform, China has not only violated Vietnam’s territorial waters but also posed a threat to freedom of navigation and maritime safety.

Therefore, Vietnam should boost its media activities to keep the international community well informed of such acts by China that are against the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Phuoc said.

China maintains forces in oil rig location
Colonel Ngo Ngoc Thu, Vice Commander and Chief of Staff of Vietnam’s Coast Guard, told Tuoi Tre on May 8 that China maintained its force of 80 vessels, including military ships, and a number of aircraft in the location of the rig.
The Chinese ships continued to knock against Vietnamese vessels that tried to request them to leave the area, Colonel Thu said.
The same day, the Vietnamese Coast Guard has videotaped the Chinese missile escort ships that were deployed to the area on May 7, Thu said.

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