Buddhist monks, nuns and followers in the central city of Da Nang on May 28 prayed for peace in the East Sea following China’s illegal act of positioning its Haiyang Shiyou-981 drilling rig in Vietnam’s waters.

Acting head of Da Nang’s Vietnam Buddhist Shangha Executive Board Thich Thien Nguyen declared that China’s deed seriously violates international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, to which China is a signatory.

It also infringes Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, threatening security, peace, stability and maritime safety in the East Sea, he said, adding that using force to pursue undeserved benefit is blameworthy.

The monk asked China to immediately end provocative acts that can escalate tensions in the East Sea and withdraw the rig from Vietnam’s waters.

At the beginning of May, China illegally dispatched the rig as well as a large fleet of armed ships and aircraft to Vietnam’s waters and positioned them 80 miles deep inside Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

On May 27, China moved the rig to 15 degrees 33 minutes 38 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 34 minutes 62 seconds east longitude. The new location is 25 nautical miles from Tri Ton Island in Vietnam’s Hoang Sa archipelago, still completely within Vietnam’s continental shelf.

Chinese ships around the rig have repeatedly rammed and fired water cannons into Vietnamese coast guard and fisheries surveillance boats which are carrying out their law enforcement missions in Vietnam’s waters, leaving many Vietnamese vessels damaged and officers injured.-VNA