The chief of the Communist Party of Vietnam has said the country should prepare for all scenarios, including war, amid tension with China over an oil rig Beijing has unlawfully positioned in Vietnamese waters in the East Vietnam Sea since May 1.
“Many have asked what if war comes. We have to prepare for all possibilities. But we don’t want war and we’ll try to prevent it,” Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong told electors in Hanoi on Tuesday.
Trong said the Vietnamese government has consistently followed the policy of fighting through peaceful measures and fighting in compliance with international law and high-level agreements reached by the two nations.
“We will use all peaceful measures, including legal action,” he stated.
‘We don’t have the right to select a neighbor’
The Party leader underlined that the East Vietnam Sea issue is very important and has become the concern of the whole country and international community over the last two months.
He added that this issue is related to Vietnam’s stability and development, national independence and sovereignty, and the friendship with China. “China is a big neighbor. So whether we like it or not, we still have to live close to that country. We don’t have the right to select a neighbor,” Trong elaborated.
The top official said Vietnam has sought to coexist peacefully with China but at the same time resolutely asserted its independence and sovereignty. However, he admitted that it is difficult for Vietnam to do the two tasks concurrently.
According to Trong, Vietnamese leaders have expressed the State’s and Party’s stance at many international forums.
“We have clearly stated that China’s deployment of its oil rig to Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf violates international law and infringes on Vietnam’s sovereignty and high-level agreements between the two Communist Parties and two States,” Trong said.
“We’ve strongly denounced the positioning of the drilling platform and demanded that China remove it from the Vietnamese waters. We have made no concession,” he added.
According to the Party chief, China has the intention of realizing its cow’s tongue line or nine-dash line in order to occupy the East Vietnam Sea and to claim that Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos are their own.
“Hoang Sa and Truong Sa belong to Vietnam. China is occupying Hoang Sa now. They used force twice to seize the archipelago, with the most recent assault happening in 1974, when we still did not liberate the southern part of the country. We will continue fighting to take Hoang Sa back,” Trong emphasized.
China has deployed hundreds of vessels, including warships, to guard the Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig that has been illicitly placed in the Vietnamese waters despite strong protests from Vietnam.