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Vietnam requests China to immediately stop illegal moves in Vietnamese waters

10:24 AM | 05/11/2014

(Bqp.vn) - The Vietnam Lawyers’ Association (VLA) strongly condemned the Chinese side and requested them to immediately stop their illegal move, remove the drilling rig and all escort vessels out of Vietnamese waters, and not conduct similar acts within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.

At the press conference held by the Vietnam Lawyers’ Association on May 9 in Hanoi.

The affirmation was made at a press conference held by the association in Hanoi on May 9 to make a declaration on China’s illegal placement of an oil rig in Vietnam’s waters.

The association asked the Chinese side to strictly abide by international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which clearly states that no one may undertake the activities of exploring the continental shelf or exploiting the natural resources of a coastal state without the express consent of the coastal state.

At the same time, China should strictly implement commitments contained in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), stated the association.

The association called on legal practitioners around the world to raise their voice to protect justice and international law, especially the 1982 UNCLOS.

The association confirmed that it hopes to boost friendship and co-operation between the peoples of Vietnam and China as well as between lawyers of both sides. Meanwhile, it claimed that it will spare no efforts to protect justice and international law, respect other countries' independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and maintain peace, stability and security in the region and the world.

The declaration clearly stated that China positioned its rig, HD-981, in the south of Tri Ton Island, 80 nautical miles deep in Vietnam’s continental shelf, 119 nautical miles from Vietnam’s Ly Son Island and 130 nautical miles from its coast, to carry out exploratory drilling in Vietnam’s continental shelf; and has also deployed a large number of accompanying vessels, including military ones.

The move defies international law and obviously violated Vietnam’s sovereignty as well as the 1982 UNCLOS (Articles 58 and 77) of which China itself is a member, the VLA said.

The move also goes against the DOC agreed between China and ASEAN member countries, making the situation more complicated and causing instability in East Sea, the VLA affirmed.

That China has described it as a “normal activity”, comparing it to Vietnam’s activities of petroleum exploration and exploitation in the East Sea, is totally irrational since the Vietnamese side’s activities have been conducted within its continental shelf and exclusive economic zone in accordance with the 1982 UNCLOS, which is recognised and adhered to by its signatories.

Meanwhile, China’s exploratory drilling in Vietnam’s continental shelf is a unilateral act that runs counter to the 1982 UNCLOS and has not been recognised by any other country.

* On May 2, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) positioned its drilling rig at 15 degrees 29 minutes north latitude and 111 degrees 12 minutes east longitude, about 120 nautical miles from Vietnam ’s coast,

In a statement released on May 9 in Hanoi , the Vietnam Petroleum Association (VPA) affirmed that the Chinese firm’s operation in the abovementioned location, which belongs to oil and gas Lot 143 within Vietnam ’s 200-nautical-mile-exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, is illegal and contrary to the 1982 UNCLOS.

At the same time, the moves seriously violated the sovereign right and jurisdiction as well as the national interest of Vietnam, while complicating the situation and intensifying tensions in the East Sea.

They are also against the practice of international oil and gas activities, hurting the mutual trust and the motto of co-operation and friendship between Vietnam and China, the VPA said.

The VPA strongly protested CNOOC’s illegal acts, demanded CNOOC stop its actions at once and remove the HD- 981 drilling rig from Vietnam ’s waters. It also asked China to strictly abide by the agreement on the basic principles guiding the settlement of sea-related issues, and respect internal law, the 1982 UNCLOS and the DOC.

The VPA always appreciates and is willing to boost the traditional relations and co-operation with China on the basis of respecting each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as international law, contributing to maintaining peace and security in the region, it said.

* Thousands of fishermen from Ly Son Island in Quang Ngai province gathered at a meeting held on May 9 to protest China’s illegal act of positioning HD -98 oil rig in Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago.

At the event, Nguyen Quoc Chinh, member of the Executive Board of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour and Head of the An Hai communal Fisheries Trade Union, delivered an official statement on protesting the Chinese side’s action, which has affected the economic life and offshore fishing of Ly Son fishermen.

Many fishermen recalled that they had faced difficulties in their operation as Chinese forces chased and seized their properties while they were fishing in the waters of Vietnam's Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago.

China’s illegal placement of a drilling rig has forced the fishermen to take a longer route to their fishing grounds, which requires much fuel and makes them feel unsafe while fishing in the area.

After the ceremony, the fishermen gathered at the Hoang Sa museum to offer incense to their predecessors who planted milestones and protected Hoang Sa archipelago. They also expressed their determination to maintain voyages around the Hoang Sa archipelago, their traditional fishing ground and to protect Vietnam’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Source: Nhan Dan

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