China should pay attention to the international community’s concern about the tense situation in the East Vietnam Sea caused by its illicit deployment of an oil rig there, Vietnamese Defense Minister Phung Quang Thanh said Sunday.
Beijing should take diplomatic steps to ease the tension, Minister General Thanh said during an interview with the press about the East Vietnam Sea situation after leading a Vietnamese delegation to the 13th Shangri La Dialogue, which wrapped up the same day in Singapore.
“I think that after the dialogue, China should pay due attention to the international community’s worry about the tension in the sea since they illegally deployed the drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 in Vietnam’s waters. They should take into account diplomatic solutions to ease the tension, which is not good for China and Vietnam, as well as other countries in the world,” General Thanh said.
He expressed his hope that China will engage in dialogues to seek measures to ease the situation and reach a solution acceptable to both sides and in accordance with international law.
When asked for comments on the fact that Chinese Lieutenant General Wang Guanzhong severely blasted the speeches of U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the dialogue, General Thanh said the criticism came from the bilateral relations between China and the two countries.
Hagel said that China is destabilizing the East Vietnam Sea while Abe vowed to give greater support to Southeast Asian countries in their speeches.
However, Thanh said Lieutenant General Wang put emphasis on keeping peace in the East Vietnam Sea and relevant rules and mechanisms of the region, but he did not mention the role of international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Meanwhile, most speakers at the dialogue expressed their concerns about the tense situation in the sea area and requested that the related parties comply with international law and not use or threaten force in settling territorial disputes, the Vietnamese defense minister said.
“China has announced that it loves peace and that it is a large and responsible country of the international community and pursues a ‘neighborly diplomatic’ policy,” Thanh said, adding that he hoped China will turn its words into practical actions.
“At the event, we told everybody that the location where China has placed its oil rig is within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. We also told the dialogue that Vietnam wants to settle the issue through peaceful measures based on international law, the UNCLOS and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Vietnam Sea,” the official said.
U.S., Japan to help Vietnam Coast Guard
General Thanh also said that during his separate meetings with the representatives of many countries at the dialogue, he provided them with objective and correct information related to the current situation in the East Vietnam Sea and discussed measures to boost bilateral cooperation.
“During such meetings, the U.S. and Japanese sides are ready to support Vietnam to develop its Coast Guard force and enhance the efficiency of management of its territorial waters under international law,” the general said.
Thanh added that he highly appreciated the speech of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who emphasized that disputes must be settled by peaceful measures.
“The Japanese side said it will provide the Vietnam Coast Guard with patrol ships,” he added.
General Thanh also said Vietnam and the U.S. signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Military Cooperation in 2011.
“Vietnamese Chief of General Staff Do Ba Ty visited the U.S. We are developing comprehensive cooperation with the U.S. We are ready to invite Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S., to visit Vietnam at a convenient time,” Thanh added.