The Mexico – Vietnam Friendship and Cooperation Institute (MVCFI) on June 25 held a meeting in front of the Chinese Embassy in Mexico City to protest China’s illegal stationing of the oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 in Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

About 100 members of the institute and representatives from media agencies and socio-political organisations of Mexico participated in the event, carrying placards and banners demanding China respect Vietnam’s sovereignty, immediately withdraw the rig and escort ships from Vietnam’s waters, and comply with international law.

At the event, MVCFI Honourary President Virgilio Caballero read a statement denouncing China’s deployment of the rig along with a large number of vessels and aircraft to protect the rig and attack Vietnamese ships.

The document said such acts of China seriously violate the agreement on basic principles guiding the settlement of issues at sea agreed by the Vietnamese and Chinese Governments in October 2011, and run counter to the 2002 ASEAN – China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea.

The moves also defy international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, it added.

In the statement, MVCFI called upon Chinese leaders to respect the agreements, especially those containing commitments to solving disputes peacefully, reached with their Vietnamese counterparts and international organisations.

The institute demanded China remove the rig and all escort ships from Vietnam’s waters and stop ramming into Vietnamese ships in order to ease the tension and enhance mutual understanding.

They also asked the Mexican Government, particularly Foreign Minister José Antonio Meade, to send a diplomatic note to the Chinese Government to clarify basic principles and international agreements signed within the UN framework.

After the meeting, MVCFI leaders handed over the statement to representatives of the Chinese Embassy.

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.

China’s armed vessels have aggressively and consistently fired high-power water cannons at and intentionally rammed against Vietnamese public-service and civil ships, causing damage to many boats and injuring many people on board.

On May 26, Chinese ships even sank a fishing boat belonging to Da Nang fishermen operating in the traditional fishing grounds near Vietnam’s Hoang Sa archipelago.-VNA