Argentine scholars attending a recent seminar on Vietnam have voiced their concern about the current East Sea tension after China positioned its drilling rig in Vietnam ’s waters and made provocative moves threatening Southeast Asia’s stability.

At the event held in La Plata city, Ezequiel Ramoneda, coordinator of the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies at Argentina’s National University of La Plata, criticized China for violating the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

He also denounced China ’s ambition to usurp oil and gas resources in Vietnam ’s exclusive economic zone and control world’s key traffic lines in the East Sea .

At the beginning of May 2014, China illegally dispatched the 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.

Participants at the event showed great interest in Vietnam ’s foreign policies, especially its integration in the region.

They also reviewed the progress of the Vietnam-Argentina relations, especially in trade, since the two countries set up their diplomatic ties 40 years ago.

Last year, two-way trade between the two countries reached 1.6 billion USD. Vietnam is currently Argentina ’s top trade partner in the Southeast Asia . Many enterprises are also keen on the Vietnamese market, with many of them accompanied President Cristina Fernadez during her visit to Vietnam last year, they noted.-VNA