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Vietnam President affirms determination to protect national sovereignty

“We are determined to protect every inch of our land or sea from violation. For every Vietnamese, national territorial sovereignty is sacred and sacrosanct,” Vietnam’s President Truong Tan Sang said. 

“We are determined to protect every inch of our land or sea from violation. For every Vietnamese, national territorial sovereignty is sacred and sacrosanct,” Vietnam's President Truong Tan Sang said.
“We are determined to protect every inch of our land or sea from violation. For every Vietnamese, national territorial sovereignty is sacred and sacrosanct,” Vietnam’s President Truong Tan Sang said.

President Truong Tan Sang made the statement on Friday in an interview with the Vnexpress on Vietnam’s responses to China’s illegally placing its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 deep inside Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone since early May.

“Our Vietnamese people, Party and State have enough will and resolve as well as a sufficient historical and legal basis to fight in safeguarding our national sovereignty. It is unacceptable that strong countries can defy morality and justice,” he said.

By planting the rig in Vietnam’s waters, China has violated the high-level bilateral agreement on basic principles guiding the settlement of sea-related issues and international law, including the United Nations Charter, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Vietnam Sea (DOC), the president told VnExpress.

The state leader said that Vietnam has always treasured and strived to strengthen the friendship between the people of Vietnam and China. Vietnam wants to maintain peace and stability, as it has suffered huge losses and devastation after several decades of war. Vietnam expects China to do the same.

“As I said to voters in Ho Chi Minh City just after the start of the incident, we will not accept it when any country, regardless of how strong it is, forces us to concede the sacred territory and sovereignty of our fatherland,” the leader said.

He emphasized that Vietnam has sufficient historical and legal evidence proving its sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos, and the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in line with international law.

“We are determined to protect every inch of our land or sea from violation,” the President said.

The ninth session of the 11th Party Central Committee spent considerable time debating this issue, and the committee and the Politburo have always affirmed that the territorial sovereignty of the nation, including that of Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, is sacred and cannot be conceded, President Sang said.

“We can see that few countries or international organizations have voiced their support for China’s illegal placement of the rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 within Vietnam’s waters and its irrational nine-dot territorial claim. Legal and historical evidence shows that justice is on our side,” he said.

Sang added that he is deeply moved by and respect the noble sentiment of his compatriots and comrades. “All people as one look toward the East Sea. Fishermen bravely stay on the front line at sea despite the threat and intimidation from Chinese ships, even when one fishing boat was sunk.”

People nationwide have expressed their patriotism in various creative ways, and Vietnamese all over the world also voice their strong protest against China’s illegal act, the leader said.

“However, we should be vigilant against provocative words and acts in the name of patriotism,” he added.

Regarding the Vietnam-China economic ties, which are an issue of great interest for the public, with many people saying Vietnam might become dependent on China economically, President Sang said the Southeast Asian nation has established trade and investment relations with more than 200 countries and territories on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.

Vietnam’s economic and trade ties with China have seen a rapid development over recent years, but its trade deficit has been growing, particularly in the import of materials for production. Some of Vietnamese exports have focused too much on the Chinese market.

In the field of bidding for EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction), BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) and equipment supply contracts in a number of important economic sectors such as power, information and telecommunications, Chinese investors have won a large number of contracts, but the quality and technology of many such contracts are not high while costs usually inflate and the time of implementation is prolonged, the leader pointed out.

“This situation needs to be corrected as early as possible,” he said.

Regarding what solutions the Party and State have taken in response to China’s illegal rig deployment, President Sang said the Party Central Committee and the Politburo have promptly drafted out guidelines to deal with the incident.

“On the one hand, we firmly demand that China remove the rig out of our country’s waters; on the other hand, we patiently try to maintain a peaceful environment for national construction and the friendly neighborliness with the Chinese people on the basis of equality, mutual respect and benefit,” he said.

Vietnam has always applied peaceful measures while requesting China to show its good will to solve the problem by peaceful means in line with international law and agreements between China and ASEAN, and between China and Vietnam.

“Legal measures will be used when necessary to safeguard our country’s sovereignty and territory,” the president told VnExpress.