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Vietnam premier demands China not repeat sovereignty violations after rig moving

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung requested China not to deploy any other oil rig to Vietnam’s waters as well as not to violate the territorial integrity, sovereign right and jurisdiction of the Southeast Asian country at a government meeting on Wednesday.

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung give remarks at the opening session of the 23rd World Economic Forum on East Asia held in Manila on May 22, 2014.
Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung give remarks at the opening session of the 23rd World Economic Forum on East Asia held in Manila on May 22, 2014.

His statement was made soon after China moved its Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig out of Vietnamese waters early Wednesday after having illegally placed it there for 75 days since May 1, despite strong protests from Hanoi.

Beijing also moved all associated maritime forces that had protected the drilling platform out of Vietnam’s waters the same day.

The government leader said Vietnam always appreciates the good friendship and cooperation with China on the basis of equality and mutual benefits, for the sake of peace and development.

Vietnam is willing to negotiate with China and other related parties to peacefully settle disputes in the East Vietnam Sea in accordance with international law, he underscored.

PM Dung highly appreciated and hailed competent authorities, marine law enforcement forces, fishermen, and Vietnamese citizens in and outside the country who have been determined to fight for national sovereignty.

The premier also conveyed thanks to the international community for their support for Vietnam’s stance on the oil rig spat and for the Southeast Asian nation’s condemnation of any act that violates international law and threatens peace and stability in the region.

At 11:17 pm Tuesday, China’s Xinhua News Agency cited a source from the China Oilfield Services Limited (COSL), the rig’s operator and supervisor, as saying that the drilling platform had stopped operations in the Vietnamese waters, near Tri Ton Island, part of the Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago.

The rig has completed its oil and gas exploration in the area and will be moved to Lingshui, a coastal county of southern China’s Hainan Island, according to Xinhua.

Xinhua also quoted a petroleum geological expert who is working on the drilling rig as saying that China decided to remove the platform from the Vietnamese waters in order to ensure safety for Chinese workers and their equipment, as the stormy season has begun in the East Vietnam Sea.

Over the past two and a half months, Beijing has often deployed more than 100 vessels including military ships to guard the illegal rig, despite Hanoi’s repeated demand for an immediate removal of the platform from the area.

During the time when the rig was placed in Vietnam’s waters, these vessels often rammed or fired their water cannons at local ships.

Such attacks have so far injured 15 fisheries surveillance officers together with two fishermen, as well as damaged 27 boats belonging to Vietnam’s marine law enforcement and Coast Guard forces and seven local fishing boats.