Vietnamese, international public denounce China’s deployment of oil rig in Vietnam’s waters

(VOVworld) – Vietnamese scientists, researchers, and fishermen in Da Nang City have strongly opposed China’s deployment of drilling rig HD-981 and a large number of ships including military ships in oil and gas Lot 143 on Vietnam's continental shelf.

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A Chinese vessel used water cannons to fire at Vietnamese patrol ships

Bui Van Tieng, President of Da Nang’s History and Science Association, says the deployment of the oil rig is illegal. He said:“The location where China deployed its drilling rig near Ly Son Island is in Vietnam’s territorial waters and belongs to the Hoang Sa island district of Da Nang city. This is an undeniable and unarguable historical fact. Obviously, China is violating Vietnam’s sovereignty”.

Fisherman Le Van Ky, the captain of fishing boat QNg 92479 in Nghia An commune, Tu Nghia district, Quang Ngai province said: “This fishing area was handed down to us by our predecessors. We have been fishing in this sea area for a long time. China is acting illegally and we strongly oppose it”.

Meanwhile, the international public continued to denounce China’s provocative acts. On Wednesday, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki reiterated the US. view of China’s unilateral, dangerous, and provocative acts in the East Sea. Psaki said the area of Vietnam’s exclusive economic area in the East Sea was established in line with international law. Addressing a press conference in Washington, Psaki said China's deployment of an oil rig in a disputed part of the East Sea was "provocative and unhelpful" to security in the region. Referring to a Chinese vessel that has been intentionally ramming Vietnamese ships, she said: “We’re strongly concerned about the dangerous contact initiated by vessels in the disputed area. We call on all parties to conduct themselves in a safe and appropriate manner, exercise restraint, and address competing sovereignty claims peacefully, diplomatically, and in accordance with international law. We oppose a provocative or unilateral action that jeopardizes peace and security in the East Sea.”

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US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki- Photo: AFP

Psaki mentioned the official US view of the East Sea zone that China has unilaterally claimed. She said: “Vietnam has declared a 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone based on its coast line in accordance with the law of the sea. Then we call on China because China has a different view on that. That’s why we continue to call on both sides not to take provocative or unilateral actions given this is occurring in disputed waters near those islands and these events, of course, point to the need for claimants to clarify their claims in accordance with international law and reach agreement of what types of activities should be permissible within disputed areas such as these waters.”

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US Senator John McCain (Photo: AFP/VNA)

According to US Senator John McCain the same day, China’s decision to begin drilling for oil off Vietnam’s coast and its deployment of dozens of naval vessels to support that provocative action is deeply concerning and only escalates tensions in the East Sea. He added that China bears full responsibility for this unilateral attempt to change the status quo. Its actions rest on territorial claims that have no basis in international law. McCain called on all responsible nations to insist that China’s leaders take immediate steps to deescalate tensions and revert to the previous status quo.

Some Italian scholars said China had intentionally worsened the situation and threatened peace, maritime security, and safety in the East Sea. They said Italy, as a G7 member with growing concerns about this region, intends to join international efforts to ease the current tension and resolve the disputes in the East Sea according to international law.

Andrew Billo, a scholar specializing in Southeast Asia with the US-based Asia Society, said China’s move is an obvious violation of Vietnam’s water territory pursuant to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. He said China has failed to honor its responsibilities under the Declaration on the Code of Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, which it signed with ASEAN. Billo said that, like Vietnam, as a signatory to the UNCLOS China should respect Vietnam’s legitimate rights in this water area.

The ‘Straits Times’ of Singapore on Wednesday said China’s deployment of the oil rig in Vietnam’s territorial waters has created a dangerous threat to regional security.

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