Since May 1st, 2014, China brazenly moved its deep-water drilling rig escorted by over 80 armed and military vessels and many airplanes to the Vietnamese waters and installed the rig at the location which is 80 miles deep into the Vietnamese continental shelf and exclusive economic zone prescribed by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS).
VGP would like to recall some of Viet Nam’s diplomatic activities as follows:
On May 4, the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Le Hai Binh said the operation location of the drilling rig is totally within Viet Nam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, about 120 nautical miles from its coast.
Any activity conducted by foreign countries in Viet Nam’s waters without permission is illegal and void, Mr. Binh has affirmed, adding that the country absolutely opposes it.
On May 4, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ho Xuan Son made a phone call to his Chinese counterpart Liu Zhen Min to discuss about the incident.
The same day, representative of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs met with a representative of the Chinese Embassy in Ha Noi to hand over Viet Nam’s diplomatic note to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
According to the diplomatic note, the operation of the drilling rig HD-981 and vessels seriously violates the sovereignty, sovereign right and jurisdiction of Viet Nam over the Hoang Sa archipelago, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf as well as agreements reached between the two countries’ leaders. It also runs counter to the spirit and words of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, relevant regulations of the international law. Viet Nam demands China immediately withdraw the above drilling rig as well as relevant vessels, equipment and personnel out of the lot 143 in Viet Nam’s continental shelf and not to repeat the same act.
The diplomatic note also reiterates that Viet Nam attaches importance to the friendship and comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership with China, stands ready, through bilateral negotiation mechanisms, to peacefully settle all sea-related disputes and divergences between the two countries on the basis of international law, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Agreement on basic principles guiding the settlement of sea-related issues between Viet Nam and China.
On May 7, According to Vice Chairman of the National Boundary Commission Tran Duy Hai, China has so far deployed many vessels, up to 80 at peak time, of various kinds, including seven military ships backed by 33 boats of marine police, marine surveillance force and fishery administration force, as well as transport and fishing vessels. In addition, dozens of Chinese plane are operating daily on the area.
Mr. Hai said that when Viet Nam’s law enforcement ships arrived to stop the illegal intrusion of the Chinese side, Chinese ships aggressively fired water cannons and even rammed at Vietnamese vessels, damaging Viet Nam’s coast guard vessels and injuring crew members.
On May 7, in his phone talks with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, Deputy PM, FM Pham Binh Minh stressed that China’s unilateral deployment of the drilling rig HD-981 and a large number of vessels, even military ones, in this area is illegal, runs counter to the international law and practices, seriously violates Viet Nam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa archipelago and sovereign right and jurisdiction over Viet Nam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.
China’s move negatively impacts mutual political trust and cooperation aspects between the two countries and hurts the Vietnamese people’s sentiment.
Viet Nam will take all the proper and necessary measures to protect its legitimate rights and interests.
At the same time, Viet Nam always shows its good will, sticks to satisfactory resolution of divergences through negotiations, dialogues and other peaceful measures in accordance with the common awareness of the high-ranking leaders of the two countries, the agreement on basic principles guiding the settlement of sea-related issues, in accordance with regulations and practices of the international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in order not to let this issue damage the mutual political trust and cooperation between the two sides.
On May 9, Sri Lanka supports Viet Nam's stance on demanding China adhere to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and withdraw its drilling rig HD-981 out of Viet Nam’s sovereignty and exclusive economic zone.
Sri Lanka’ PM D.M. Jayaratne made the statement at a reception given by PM Nguyen Tan Dung on May 9, regarding the East Sea issue.
On May 11, in his remarks at the 24th ASEAN Summit in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, PM Nguyen Tan Dung called China’s move an extremely dangerous action which is directly threatening peace, stability and maritime security and safety in the East Sea.
China has failed to respond to Viet Nam’s legitimate demand. On the contrary, China has been slandering and blaming Viet Nam while continuing to escalate its increasingly dangerous and serious acts of violation.
In face of this extremely serious situation, Viet Nam requests that ASEAN needs to strengthen solidarity and unity, and strongly reaffirm the principles enshrined in the Six-Point Principles on the South China Sea while demanding China to observe the international law, the 1982 UNCLOS, especially to respect the continental shelf and 200-mile exclusive economic zone of coastal countries, to implement fully and strictly implement the DOC, and to work with ASEAN for substantive negotiation on the COC.
On May 11, Deputy PM, FM Pham Binh Minh asked for China’s serious consideration and positive response to Viet Nam’s demands after China illegally placed Haiyang Shiyou – 981 drilling rig and deployed as many as 99 vessels in Viet Nam’s waters, during his phone call to Chinese FM Wang Yi.
Once again, Deputy PM, FM resolutely opposed China’s act and demanded China immediately withdraw the drilling rig as well as vessels from waters under Viet Nam’s sovereignty, sovereign right and jurisdiction.
On May 15, Spokesperson of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Le Hai Binh said that Viet Nam circulated on May 7, 2014 a note at the United Nations to oppose China’s illegal placement of the Haiyang Shiyou – 981 in Viet Nam’s waters.
Mr. Binh also informed the media of recent happenings in the East Sea. He said China continues deploying its ships to protect the rig, defying the loud protests of Viet Nam and the international community.
Viet Nam has patiently and earnestly communicated with China through various channels at different levels to convey its opposition to the illegal deed but China was continuing its illegal behavior by deploying more ships and aircraft to the area where the rig is placed, he said.
The spokesman also expressed his deep gratitude to foreign nations, individuals and organizations for their support for Viet Nam, affirming that this is a great encouragement for the Vietnamese Government and people to protect the country’s sea and island sovereignty.
On May 16, Deputy PM, FM Pham Binh Minh talked on the phone with Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, Singaporean FM K. Shanmugam and Russian FM Sergei Lavrov.
He informed the FMs about the latest developments related to China’s rig Haiyang Shiyou 981, particularly China’s deployment of a large number of ships, including warships and missile-mounted escort ships, to Viet Nam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.
The Deputy PM, FM emphasized that Viet Nam strongly demands China to withdraw its drilling rig and ships out of Viet Nam’s waters.
He took the occasion to inform the partners of Viet Nam’s diplomatic efforts to ease the tension.
On May 17, Minister of Public Security Tran Dai Quang made a phone call to ask Chinese counterpart Guo Sheng Kun to report Viet Nam’s demand for China’s immediate withdrawal of Haiyang Shiyou 981 drilling rig out of Viet Nam’s exclusive economic zone. He suggested the two sides soon sit down for talks to clear up issues of difference for the sake of the two countries’ people.
On May 17, Assistant to the Foreign Minister, Dang Minh Khoi once again affirmed that Viet Nam is determined to protect its sovereignty and legitimate interests, resolutely demands China withdraw the drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 illegally installed in Viet Nam’s waters.
On May 19, during his talks with Azerbaijani President Ilham Alyev, State President Sang confirmed ASEAN and Viet Nam’s viewpoint in dealing with maritime disputes by peaceful measures in line with international laws such as the 1982 UN Convention on Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS), the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) towards building a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) to ensure peace, security and maritime safety in the region.
The two leaders agreed that any conflict should be resolved by peaceful means in accordance with international law and the UN Charter.
On May 21, during their talks in Manila, the Philippines, PM Nguyen Tan Dung and Philippine President Aquino shared their deep concern over the current especially dangerous situation in the East Sea after China have conducted many acts that violate international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, seriously infringe waters of the coastal countries. Particularly, China illegally installed the drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 and deployed many vessels in Viet Nam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, seriously threatening peace, stability, maritime security, safety and freedom in the East Sea.
The two leaders vehemently denounced and called on the international community to demand China stop its acts of infringement, strictly comply with international law, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, and work toward the conclusion of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea.
On May 21, Deputy PM, FM Pham Binh Minh and US Secretary of State John Kerry discussed the relations between Viet Nam and the US and the recent developments in the East Sea, on the phone.
During the phone call, Deputy PM, FM Minh updated the recent developments in the East Sea after China illegally placed the drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 in Viet Nam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. Tension in the East Sea has escalated as China has kept on increasing its vessels, including missile boats, fast attack crafts and amphibious landing ships.
On May 22, speaking at the WEF on East Asia in the Philippines, PM Nguyen Tan Dung stressed that peace and stability, including peace, security, safety and freedom of navigation in the East Sea, are the prerequisites for development.
The Government chief especially highlighted that the situation in the East Sea is very serious due to China’s illegal installation of the drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 in Viet Nam’s waters.
PM Dung thanked and called on ASEAN, other countries and friends around the world to continue their support for Viet Nam to protect its national sovereignty and legitimate interests in line with international law.
On May 22, PM Nguyen Tan Dung raised the complex situations in the East Sea during his meeting with Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Klaus Schwab on the sidelines of the WEF on East Asia.
PM Dung affirmed that there is no development without peace and stability, adding that Viet Nam hopes the WEF will continue to promote a peaceful, stable, cooperative and prosperous Asia-Pacific.
Mr. Klaus Schwab expressed his concerns about issues in the East Sea, expecting that the forum will be a political dialogue channel to discuss these matters.
On May 22, Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam called for international community’s continued support to ensure peace, stability, safety, maritime safety and security, and freedom of navigation in the East Sea, while he was delivering remarks at the 20th international conference on the future of Asia held in Tokyo, Japan.
He affirmed that the Government of Viet Nam pledges to continue to fully implement international commitments and to use necessary measures to ensure the safety and legitimate rights of foreign enterprises and individuals in Viet Nam.
On May 23, Japanese Prime Minister Shizo Abe received Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam who was in Japan for the 20th International Conference on The Future of Asia.
PM Shizo Abe voiced concern about tensions generated by China’s unilateral illegal placement of its Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig in Vietnamese waters and support for Viet Nam’s proper stance.
On May 27, PM Nguyen Tan Dung urged the United Nations to redouble its efforts in preserving peace and stability in the face of the current serious situation in the East Sea, during his reception for Under-Secretary-General for Field Support Ameerah Haq.
On May 27, Deputy PM, FM Minh and US Senator Benjamin Cardin exchanged views on regional and international issues, including the current situation in the East Sea.
On May 27, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Le Hai Binh said Viet Nam has demanded China stop its inhumane actions against Vietnamese fishermen, as Chinese vessels have been chasing them and threatening them with violence completely within Viet Nam’s sea area.
Mr. Binh made the statement after Chinese vessels attacked, fired water cannons, and attacked Vietnamese fishing boats operating in Viet Nam’s waters. China even sank a fishing boat of Viet Nam with ten persons on board on May 26, 2014.
On May 28, while receiving US Senator Benjamin Cardin, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, PM Nguyen Tan Dung called for the US’s stronger voice to oppose China’s illegal operation the Haiyang Shiyou – 981 drilling rig in Viet Nam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.
On May 28, PM Nguyen Tan Dung praised the Republic of Korea’s news agency, Yonhap, for its impartial coverage of Viet Nam’s socio-economic performance and the Viet Nam-RoK relations, including China’s illegal placement of an oil rig in Viet Nam’s waters.
The host leader called on Yonhap to continue its objective and truthful reporting on developments in the East Sea and Viet Nam’s goodwill measures in solving disputes peacefully in line with international law.
On May 29, PM Dung briefed the World Bank Country Director of China’s illegal placement of its drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 in Viet Nam’s exclusive economic zone, noting that the act has violated international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
On May 29, the EU High Representative for Foreign Relations and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, expressed her special concern over China’s recently acts in the East Sea, saying these acts would affect the security environment in the region.
During a phone conversation with Deputy PM, FM Pham Binh Minh, Ashton called on the relevant parties to seek peaceful and cooperative solutions in accordance with international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, to continue ensuring maritime security and freedom.
On May 30, Deputy PM, FM Pham Binh Minh received the Republic of Korea’s First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Cho Tae-yong.
In regard to the East Sea issue, Cho stressed the RoK is concerned about the recent tensions in the East Sea, thus the country hopes concerned parties solve disputes by peaceful measures on the basis of international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).
On May 31, speaking at the Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore, Defense Minister Phung Quang Thanh reiterated that China must immediately withdraw its drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 illegally placed in Viet Nam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, join talks with Viet Nam to maintain peace, stability and friendship between the two countries.
On May 31, the Viet Nam News Agency reported that Viet Nam’s permanent mission to the United Nations sent a letter to the organization’s Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, asking him to circulate as an official document of the 68th session of the General Assembly a diplomatic note from the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
On May 31, Defense Minister, General Phung Quang Thanh held separate bilateral meetings with his counterparts from the US, UK and France on the sidelines of the 13th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.
Regarding the current East Sea situation, both Thanh and Hagel stressed the need to respect international law and the importance of maintaining peace, stability, and maritime and air security and freedom in the East Sea.
The French and UK partners voiced their concern over tensions in the East Sea following China’s illegal placement of its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 in Viet Nam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.
UK Defense Secretary Philip Hammond affirmed the UK ’s strong support for the EU declaration which showed concern over disputes between China and Viet Nam regarding the illegal rig and called on the concerned parties to ease tensions and avoid unilateral actions that may harm peace and stability in the region.
By Hai Minh