Ambassador to Chile Ha Thi Ngoc Ha on June 11 informed Chilean congressmen of the latest developments in the East Sea, several weeks after China illegally towed its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou – 981 to Vietnam’s waters.

For over a month, Vietnam has exhausted all dialogue channels with China, asking it to stop violating Vietnam’s sovereign right and jurisdiction by withdrawing the rig and ships from the area right away, Ha said.

Turning a blind eye to Vietnam’s every gesture of goodwill, China has continued its illegal acts and launched false accusations and distortions, laying blame on Vietnam.

Worse still, China has escalated the situation by deploying more vessels of various kinds, sometimes up to 140, with many threatening, ramming, sinking and damaging Vietnamese ships, leaving many of their coast guards, fisheries surveillance staff and fishermen aboard injured.

Ha took the occasion to present a letter of Chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee for External Relations, Tran Van Hang, to President of the Chamber of Duties of Chile, Aldo Cornejo Gonzalez, in which China’s acts in the East Sea is brought to light.

The congressmen called on parties concerned to exercise restraint, keep the dispute from bursting into an armed conflict, and respect their commitments defined in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

In her letter sent to the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO), Chairwoman of the Chile – Vietnam Cultural Institute Patricia Abarzua Munoz said China’s oil drilling operation has caused havoc on regional stability and peace and global trade in the East Sea.

She said the institute will join with the Vietnamese Government and people to urge China to respect the UNCLOS terms, and pull its rig out of the area without delay.

The Vietnamese embassy also sent English-language materials concerning the serious incident to the Chilean Foreign Ministry, parliament, political parties and international organisations based in Santiago, including the full interview that Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung recently granted to Bloomberg and a press release by Vice Chairman of the National Boundary Commission Tran Duy Hai.

At a gathering on June 15, Argentinean artists and scholars, who are members of the Argentina – Vietnam Culture Institute (ICAV) were unanimous that only peaceful means that can address the dispute.

Earlier, ICAV Chairman Poldi Sosa Schmidt also sent a note to VUFO President Vu Xuan Hong, saying that hopefully the dispute will be settled by peaceful and diplomatic means in a spirit of mutual respect.
Since early May, China has illegally operated the rig and a large fleet of armed vessels, military ships and aircraft in Vietnam’s waters.

Despite Vietnam’s protests, China has 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, which is 60 nautical miles deep inside Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

As of June 16, as many as 38 Chinese fishing vessels and a Chinese coast guard ship coded 46102 made a line to block and violently harass Vietnamese fishing boats that were operating as usual in Vietnam’s waters.-VNA