Many Vietnamese legislators have strongly condemned China’s escalating violations of Vietnam’s sovereignty in the East Vietnam Sea and requested that the legislature voice a strong and decisive protest against them.
The condemnation and request were made by many deputies of the Vietnamese National Assembly (NA) at the Tuesday meeting of the ongoing ninth session in Hanoi.
“China’s land reclamation on some submerged reefs belonging to Vietnam’s Truong Sa [Spratly] archipelago in the East Vietnam Sea is an act of invasion,” Deputy Tran Quoc Tuan, from the southern province of Tra Vinh, said.
Therefore, the whole people are waiting for the Party, State, NA, and Government to adopt a more proper and decisive reaction against China’s illegal actions, Tuan said.
He added that such voices should be as strong as those delivered by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung when he recently took a trip to four countries, including Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, Portugal, and Algeria.
The fact that China is building artificial islands atop reefs belonging to Vietnam is more serious than the illegal deployment of the Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig in the same sea in 2014, so Vietnam should utter a stronger response to such illegal construction, said historian Duong Trung Quoc, a deputy from the southern province of Dong Nai.
“As you all know, China’s illicit construction activities in the East Vietnam Sea are so serious that the international community has voiced protest. But we must have our own voice for our own issue, and not entrust it to anyone else,” Quoc said.
Civilianization of islands in Truong Sa suggested
Lieutenant General Be Xuan Truong, deputy chief of the general staff of the Vietnam People’s Army, recommended, “It is necessary to civilianize a number of large islands in Truong Sa. This is a basic and long-term strategic issue, so the government should promulgate specific policies to ensure people can settle down and make a living on these islands in the long run.”
The government should build fishery service centers on these islands to provide technical logistics services for fishermen engaged in off-shore fishing and to buy up marine products from fishermen for processing for export, Truong said.
At the same time, people on these islands should be educated on Vietnam’s Law on Sea and other laws and regulations on natural resources and environmental protection, the official added.
“When people settle down on these islands in the long term and fishermen engage in fishing around the islands, these civil forces will be together with the naval force, maritime resource surveillance forces, and coast guard to create a combined strength to protect our fatherland’s sovereignty over its seas and islands,” Lt. Gen. Truong said.
‘China wants to test Vietnam’s response’
Regarding the Chinese oil and gas exploration ship Wan Hai 517 that recently sailed near the coast of the south-central province of Binh Thuan in the East Vietnam Sea, Nguyen Anh Son, an NA deputy and a member of the NA Committee for Security and Defense, said China took the action with a view to testing responses from Vietnam.
“This Chinese ship traveled deep in the waters of Binh Thuan, only 20 nautical miles southwest of Phu Quy Island, and then sailed through areas where Vietnam’s oil drilling rigs are operating before heading to the Gulf of Thailand,” Son elaborated.
Son pointed out that the government has not provided enough information about the complicated developments caused by China in the East Vietnam Sea, including the building of artificial islands and the deployment of artillery to them.
He thus requested that the Party and government should make clearly known to the public what they will do about China’s wrongful acts.