The Bulgaria-Vietnam Friendship Parliamentarians’ Group has voiced its backing for Vietnam in the East Sea issue after China illegally positioned its oil rig deep inside Vietnam’s waters in early May.

After being briefed by Vietnamese Ambassador Le Duc Luu, the group’s President MP Dimitar Dubov said that as a European Union member, Bulgaria totally supports the May 8 statement by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, which said that unilateral actions could affect security in the region.

The group called on China to refrain from any unilateral act that can damage peace and stability in the region, while respecting the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, to which China itself is a signatory.

It also asked parties involved to carry out negotiations to settle disputes in peaceful ways and ensure safety, security and freedom of navigation in the East Sea.

In addition, the Vietnamese community in Sri Lanka on June 1 gathered to show their support for officers and soldiers who are conducting their law enforcement tasks around the area China’s drilling rig is illegally standing.

At the beginning of May, China illegally dispatched the rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 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. The location is 80 miles deep into Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

On May 27, China moved the rig to 15 degrees 33 minutes 22 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 34 minutes 36 seconds east longitude. The new location is 25 nautical miles from Tri Ton Island in Vietnam’s Hoang Sa archipelago and 23 nautical miles east-northeast from the old location, still completely within Vietnam’s continental shelf.

China’s armed vessels aggressively 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.-VNA