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Vietnam tells the world about a threat in East Sea: official

Vietnam would like to inform the world of a threat to peace and stability and a violation of international law in the East Sea, Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh told international reporters in the Philippines last week.

On behalf of Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh answered questions from international media within the framework of the 23rd World Economic Forum in East Asia held in Manila over the illegal operation of Beijing’s oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 in Vietnam’s waters.

Vietnam tells the world about a threat in East Sea: official
Vietnam tells the world about a threat in East Sea: official

* Channel News Asia: Please tell us who was behind the riots in Vietnam last week?

Some people made use of peaceful marches to violate Vietnam’s law, leading to such riots. But, appropriate measures were taken timely. The situation is now stable and [foreign-invested] enterprises in Vietnam have resumed their normal operations.

* The Prime Minister said the law-breakers will be strictly punished. How should they be punished?

– They will be penalized in accordance with Vietnam’s law and will be tried by court.

* CNN: Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said his government is considering legal action against China. What is the legal action?

– We still put forward peaceful resolutions to deal with disputes and will continue doing that in line with international law, including resolutions stipulated in the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

* Straits Times: The Prime Minister stated that Vietnam has sought every opportunity and dialogue channel to settle the situation in a peaceful manner. So, what will happen if all dialogue channels are used?

Vietnam will continue seeking every opportunity and dialogue channel including negotiations with China. By far, Vietnam has exchanged views with China over 20 times on this issue. We will continue doing that way and will use all appropriate measures in line with international law.

* Will Vietnam join the Philippines in filing a lawsuit against China or will Hanoi sue China in a separate case? If so, when will the legal action be carried out?  

– We will protect our sea waters and will use all appropriate measures in line with international law including UNCLOS.

* Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has talked about trade and freedom of navigation in the East Sea? How would they be affected?

– The current situation [in the East Sea] is very dangerous to peace, stability, security, and safety of navigation. As you have seen, [China] has deployed its oil rig, escort vessels, including warships, and aircraft to Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf of Vietnam. If they are not prevented from doing so, it will pose serious threat to sea traffic.

* Reuters: As you stated, Vietnam has exchanged views with China. So, what is the result of these talks?  

– By far, we have exchanged with China more than 20 times. Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh, who is also the Foreign Minister, had phone talks with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi and Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi [regarding the illegal operation of Beijing’s oil rig].

* NHK: As we have learned, Vietnam has sent a report to the UN. What is the nature of the document? Did Vietnam mention the East Sea issue at the world economic forum in order to internationalize it?

– We are informing the world of a threat to peace and stability, and a violation of international law, including UNCLOS. So we reported this to the UN and ASEAN members.

* What are reactions from China that Vietnam can expect?

– Please ask them [China].

* Is Vietnam prepared for negative reactions from China?

– Vietnam always highlights cooperation and friendship with China. We will do our best to demand that China withdraw its oil rig out of Vietnamese waters and maintain friendly relations with them as well. We are trying to do that.