The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) has requested that China fully observe the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in settling territorial disputes in the East Vietnam Sea.
IADL made the request in a statement about China’s illegal placement of an oil rig in Vietnam’s waters, which was released at a press conference organized on Wednesday in Hanoi by the Vietnamese Lawyers Association, an IADL member.
The statement was presented by Jitendra Sharma, the Honorary President, a member of the Standing Committee, and the former President of IADL.
In the document, IADL said it is concerned about the increasing tension in the East Vietnam Sea and the prospect of conflicts that threaten peace, stability, and security in the region.
The tension came after China placed its drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 deep inside Vietnam’s 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone and continental shelf on May 1, and sent a large number of vessels, along with aircraft, to the area to protect it, IADL said.
These Chinese vessels have rammed and used water cannons to fire at a number of Vietnam Coast Guard and Fisheries Resources Surveillance boats, injuring many Vietnamese fisheries surveillance officers and damaging their watercrafts.
Chinese vessels also slammed into and sank a Vietnamese fishing boat on May 26.
After considering China’s illegal rig deployment and the above violent acts, IADL has sent a letter to China, calling on the parties concerned to settle the dispute by peaceful means and strictly comply with the UNCLOS, to which both China and Vietnam are signatories.
The association requested that China clarify its legal foundation for the placement of the oil rig, deployment of vessels, including warships, and aircraft to the Vietnamese waters to guard the rig, and provocative acts against the Vietnamese law enforcement forces in the area.
The law body also asked China to give explanations on the attacks by Chinese boats on Vietnamese fishing vessels since May 7.
IADL emphasized that China, one of the five country members of the United Nations Security Council, must absolutely respect the UN Charter and behave as properly as a world power in maintaining and protecting peace, stability, and security in the region and the world at large.
The association urged Beijing to respect international law, and stop and refrain from actions that might further increase tensions, threatening security and safety of navigation in the East Vietnam Sea.
IADL also requested China to give feedback on the above issues.
At a meeting with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in the capital yesterday, Jitendra Sharma said IADL supports Vietnam’s peaceful measures to settle maritime spats, which are in line with international law.
In talking with VnExpress newspaper about China’s illegal rig positioning, Jitendra Sharma said China’s provocations within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf are totally wrong and unacceptable.