The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) on May 14 voiced its strong protest against China’s illegal placement of a drilling rig in the continental shelf of Vietnam.

The VCCI, the representative for the Vietnamese business community, described the act as intentional violations of Vietnam’s sovereignty, directly damaging the country’s important political and economic interests as well as maritime security and trade in the region.

The organisation demanded China respect international law and its related commitments, immediately stop illegal activities and withdraw rig Haiyan Shiyou-981 and its vessels from Vietnam’s waters without delay, and absolutely not take similar acts in the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of Vietnam.

The VCCI called on the Vietnamese business circle to take substantial actions to support Vietnamese concerned forces and fishermen, who are determined to maintain their missions to safeguard the country’s sovereignty and legitimate interests in the East Sea.

It also asked the Chinese business circle and the international business community to raise their voice to urge the Chinese government to act with responsibility to ensure stability, security and normal operations of maritime activities and trade in the region.

On May 2, China stationed the rig at 15 degrees 29 minutes 58 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 12 minutes 06 seconds east longitude. The location is 80 nautical miles deep inside Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and 119 nautical miles from Vietnam’s Ly Son Island.

China has so far deployed a large number of vessels of various kinds to the area, including military, coast guard, marine surveillance, marine patrol and fishing ships.

Chinese ships repeatedly rammed and fired water cannons into Vietnamese coast guard ships during their law enforcement missions in the country’s waters, damaging many Vietnamese ships and leaving nine fisheries surveillance officers injured.-VNA