Despite Vietnam’s diplomatic measures to settle the tension in the East Vietnam Sea after China illegally placed an oil rig there, Beijing has continued escalating in the area, a senior Vietnamese official has said.
The statement was made by Tran Duy Hai, deputy chairman of the National Border Committee under the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at an international press conference held by the ministry in Hanoi on Thursday.
Vietnam has made diplomatic efforts to settle the tension, but China has kept increasing tensions in the area where the drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 and its guarding ships have been deployed illegally since May 1, Hai told the conference.
“Vietnam will continue with its peaceful efforts to resolve the differences based on international law and the United Nations Charter, but the country will prepare subsequent steps to protect its legitimate rights and interests,” Hai said.
He was replying to a question from Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper regarding what Vietnam will do in response to China maintaining the rig in the Vietnamese waters.
A reporter from The Washington Times asked what role Vietnam expects the U.S. to take in helping Hanoi protect its sovereignty. The reporter had previously mentioned a visit to Vietnam last week by a U.S. high-ranking parliamentary delegation.
In reply, Le Hai Binh, spokesman of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, “Maintaining maritime safety and security is the common responsibility of all concerned countries, both within and outside the region.
“The U.S. is a powerful country in the world, as well as in the Asia-Pacific region. In recent times, the U.S. and the international community have raised their voices to help settle the tension in the East Vietnam Sea. We hope that the U.S. will have a stronger voice and make further practical acts to contribute to protecting maritime safety and security in the region and resolving the disputes there in accordance with international law.”
Binh also received a question from a correspondent from Japan’sKyodo News, who asked for Vietnam’s response to the fact that the G7 has issued a statement in which the group voiced deep concerns about the tension in the East Vietnam Sea and the East China Sea, protested the use of force to claim sovereignty, and requested that the parties involved settle disputes by means of international law.
“We welcome the G7’s statement. We hope that more countries and more international organizations raise their strong voices and take effective actions to contribute to maintaining peace and security in the region and boosting the settlement of disputes by international law,” Binh replied.
A reporter from The Associated Press (AP) asked Binh why the Vietnamese government does not allow people to demonstrate their protest against China’s violation of sovereignty in front of the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi.
Binh replied: “This information is groundless. Every Vietnamese has the right to show their patriotism peacefully and within the law. In recent times, Vietnamese at home and abroad have conducted rallies to protest China’s wrongful acts.”
When asked by VnExpress for comments on the role of the international community in ensuring safety and security in the East Vietnam Sea, deputy chairman of the National Border Committee Tran Duy Hai said, “The international community has raised strong voices. Perhaps these voices are the strongest in the past several years in relation to the East Vietnam Sea situation.”
He added: “I believe that such voices have important roles in keeping peace, security, and maritime safety and security in the sea. They will also help prevent new threatening acts by China in the area.”
As previously reported, after relocating twice, the Chinese rig is now located at 15°33’22’’ North latitude and 111°34’23’’ East longitude, still in Vietnamese waters.