Vietnamese love peace but will not tolerate threat to sovereignty

Saigon Giai Phong newspaper has received several letters from the public expressing resolute opposition to China’s unilateral and illegal placing of the oil drilling rig HD981 within Vietnam’s continental shelf. We reproduce some of them.

China’s move jeopardizes countries in the region
(Monk Thich Thanh Phong, permanent member of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha Central Executive Council)

China’s illegal operation of the oil drilling rig HD981 has compromised not only Vietnam’s sovereignty but also other nations’ benefits in the region, and obstructed international maritime operations.

Vietnamese should protest more vigorously to create international public pressure, forcing China to withdraw the oil rig and vessels from Vietnam’s continental shelf.

On behalf of Vietnamese monks, nuns, and Buddhist followers, I call on the Chinese administration to respect international law and consider the benefits from the traditional friendship between the two countries and end its wrongful act.

Vietnamese love peace and desire to live in solidarity, friendship, cooperation with all nations in the world, especially China, a neighbor.

However, we can not accept or make any concession to China’s wrongdoing. We hope that the international public will continue to condemn China’s action, which has violated the international law, he says.

Vietnam can take China to international court
(Lawyer Nguyen Van Hau, deputy chairman of the HCMC Lawyers Association)

Clause 57 of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea stipulates that exclusive economic zones extend up to 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres, 230 miles) from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured.

The Socialist Republic of Vietnam made a statement on the country’s territorial waters, contiguous zones, exclusive economic zones, and continental shelf on June 21, 2012.

It said Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone follows the country’s territorial waters and extends to 200 nautical miles from the baseline.

This was also regulated in Clause 15 of the Sea Law passed by the National Assembly on the same day.

The statement is absolutely compatible with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The location of HD981 drilling rig is only 120 nautical miles from Vietnam’s coast, which belongs to Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone.

China’s perverse action has infringed international law and gone back on its commitments to ASEAN under the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) in 2002, in which parties pledge to refrain from all provocative actions that could make conflicts at sea more complicated and affect the region’s peace and stability.

Vietnam has every reason to sue China in the International Court of Dispute Resolution in accordance with chapter 15 of the UN Convention.

No Vietnamese accepts infringement of their nation’s sovereignty
(Bui Van Di, director general of Tho Nam Sang Environment Company)

We are displeased and strongly condemn China for encroaching on Vietnam’s continental shelf. China’s provocative actions have damaged Vietnamese boats and injured several officers and soldiers who are on duty in the area where China illegally placed its HD981 oil rig.

We are unanimous in our support for the Government and join hands with everyone in society to show our determination and patience to continue the peaceful struggle to force China to unconditionally withdraw HD981 along with its vessels from Vietnam’s torrential waters.

Vietnamese should unite to show their determination to protect the country’s sovereignty.

Nation’s sovereignty sacred
(Pham Van Hai, staff at Tan A Dai Thanh Group)

Several generations of Vietnamese have laid down their lives to protect their land regardless of how strong or violent the enemy was.

China has infringed on Vietnam’s sovereignty, rubbing Vietnamese people’s patriotism and self-respect the wrong way.

Vietnam’s 1,000-year history shows that whenever the country was threatened, people closed ranks and fought with their heart and soul, ready to sacrifice themselves for their nation.

By staff writers – Translated by Hai Mien

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