Vietnam has adequate evidence to prove and confirm that Chinese ships had intentionally rammed and damaged its vessels, heard a regular press conference of the Foreign Ministry on June 26.
|Chinese ships operate in the oil rig site (Source: VNA)|
None of Vietnamese ships deliberately attacked Chinese ships, did intentional ramming acts, and encroached on China’s waters, as claimed by the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson at the June 24 press conference, stated Ha Le, Deputy Head of the Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development stated.
“Vietnam vehemently opposes and rejects the Chinese statements,” Le said
He reiterated that at 9:30 on June 23 at a location 11.5 nautical miles far from the Haiyang Shiyou-981 that China illegally placed in Vietnam’s waters since early May, two Chinese tugboats 284 and 285 and a maritime patrol ship No. 11 blocked Vietnamese fisheries surveillance ship KN-951 and steadied it on one side. The action allowed tugboat coded Xinhai 285 to strongly ram into the other side of ship KN-951, causing serious damage to the ship.
In addition, about 40 Chinese fishing vessels, supported by two coast guard ships coded 46102 and 46106, often impeded, threatened and intentionally rammed at Vietnamese fishing boats which are operating in Vietnam’s traditional fishing grounds, at a distance of about 40-45 nautical miles from the rig, stated Le.
Since the beginning of May, Vietnamese fishing boats have been regularly harassed by the Chinese side, 17 of which were damaged and tens of fishermen injured by Chinese ships, according to the official.
Answering a question saying China had affirmed that it did not dispatch warships to defend the rig, Ngo Ngoc Thu, Deputy Commander of the Vietnam Coast Guard High Command said every day China maintains 109-125 ships, including 4-6 warships such as missile-mounted escort ships and minesweepers, at the rig site.
Meanwhile, China also uses reconnaissance aircraft to threaten Vietnamese vessels, Thu added.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Le Hai Binh voiced that Vietnam strongly condemns dangerous actions taken by China in the East Sea and demands the country promptly stop hindering Vietnamese law enforcement ships’ operation.
He affirmed that such acts violate Vietnam’s waters and threaten Vietnamese law enforcement ships and fishermen conducting normal activities in Vietnam’s waters. More dangerously, these activities have hindered maritime security, safety and freedom and infringed the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea.
Binh also asked the Chinese side to compensate for the damage its vessels caused to the Vietnamese fisheries surveillance ship KN-951 and other boats.
At the beginning of May, China illegally dispatched its oil rig as well as a large fleet of armed vessels, military ships and aircraft to Vietnam’s waters and positioned the rig at 15 degrees 29 minutes 58 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 12 minutes 06 seconds east longitude, 80 miles deep into Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.
Despite Vietnam’s protest, China expanded its scale of operation and moved the rig to 15 degrees 33 minutes 36 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 34 minutes 11 seconds east longitude, 60 nautical miles deep inside Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.