Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh. Photo: TG&VN
During the talks, the Deputy PM, who is also the Vietnamese Foreign Minister, stressed that China’s unilateral bringing of the rig and a large number of vessels, including military ships, to operate in oil and gas Lot 143 on Viet Nam’s continental shelf since May 1is illegal and runs counter to international law and practice. He said that the move had seriously violated Viet Nam’s sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago and its sovereign right and jurisdiction over the country’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.
He added that the act also negatively impacts political trust and cooperation between the two countries and hurts the Vietnamese people.
Viet Nam cannot accept but resolutely opposes China’s act, and demands that it completely withdraw the drilling rig and escort vessels from the area and hold talks to settle differences around the issue, Minh said.
He affirmed that Viet Nam has full legal and historical evidence attesting its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa and the Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos and the sovereign right and jurisdiction over the country’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in accordance with regulations in the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Viet Nam will take all suitable and necessary measures to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests, he added.
Minh declared that Viet Nam always patiently shows willingness to satisfactorily solve differences through talks, dialogues and peaceful measures following the common perceptions of the two countries’ high-ranking leaders. He added that Viet Nam always follows the agreement on fundamental principles guiding the settlement of issues at sea in line with regulations and realities of international law, especially the UNCLOS, preventing the problem from damaging the political trust and cooperation between the two sides.
Earlier on May 4, Deputy Foreign Minister and head of the Vietnamese Government negotiation delegation on border and territory Ho Xuan Son discussed the issue over the phone with his Chinese counterpart Liu Zhenmin.
The same day, representatives from the Foreign Ministry met representatives of the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi and handed over a ministerial diplomatic note to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
The note affirmed that the activities of China’s drilling rig HYSY-981 and vessels seriously infringed Viet Nam’s sovereignty, sovereign right and jurisdiction over Viet Nam’s Hoang Sa archipelago, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. It also seriously violated agreements reached by the two countries’ leaders and went against the spirit and wording of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and related regulations in international law.
The note demanded that China “immediately withdraw the drilling rig, vessels, equipment and personnel from Lot 143 in Viet Nam’s continental shelf and prevent the recurrence of similar acts”.
In conclusion, the note affirmed that Viet Nam holds its friendship, cooperation and comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership with China in high esteem and is therefore willing to peacefully settle all the disputes and differences at sea between the two sides. It is prepared to do this through bilateral negotiation mechanisms on the basis of internal law, the UNCLOS and the agreement on the fundamental principles guiding the settlement of issues at sea between Viet Nam and China.-VNA