Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs last week condemned Chinese moves to hamper its oil and gas businesses within the country’s rightful waters, saying they constitute a serious violation of international law.
“Vietnam’s sea economic activities, including oil and gas exploration and exploitation, are all conducted in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf as defined from the country’s land territory, in accordance with UN Convention on the Law of the Seas [Unclos] 1982, to which both China and Vietnam are signatories,” Le Thi Thu Hang, spokesperson for the foreign ministry, said at a press briefing in Hanoi.
Hang was responding to China’s recent claims that Vietnam is conducting oil and gas activities illegally in Chinese waters.
She said Unclos 1982 is the sole legal basis to regulate the rights of each country and this has been complied with by signatory countries, manifested in arbitration cases and received consensus from lawyers.
“Therefore, no country can lay claims to the waters in the East Sea [internationally known as the South China Sea] beyond the geographical limitations and contents regulated in the Unclos 1982,” she said.
Unlawful claims that go against Unclos 1982 cannot be used as a basis to say there are disputed waters, the spokesperson said, adding that Vietnam has sovereignty over Truong Sa and Hoang Sa islands.
The foreign ministry has also provided updates on Chinese survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 08, saying the ship continues to infringe Vietnam’s sovereignty, sovereign rights, exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf.
“Vietnam has been raising its opinions on the negative impacts this flagrant violation of the Haiyang Dizhi 08 causes to bilateral relations as well as to the security, order and peace in the East Sea and the region,” Hang said.
She said Vietnam demanded that China end this encroachment and withdraw the survey ship from Vietnamese waters.
Concerning the reports the UK is intending to send aircraft carriers to the East Sea amid China’s growing ambitions in the region, Hang said Vietnam has on many occasions stated that the country welcomes all activities that aim to ensure freedom of navigation and overflight in the sea, conform with UNCLOS 1982 and contribute to regional and global peace and security.
Viet Nam News/ANN