Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh on May 21 held phone talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry on bilateral relations and recent developments in East Sea.

Acknowledging recent positive progress in bilateral ties, especially in economics, trade and investment, Minh, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, stressed that Vietnam is willing to coordinate with the US in implementing concrete measures to further boost the comprehensive partnership between the two countries.

Regarding the latest developments related to China’s unilateral placement of a drilling rig in Vietnam ’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, he said China has continuously increased the number of ships at the site, including missile boats, fast attack crafts and amphibious landing ships, making the situation very tense.

The Deputy PM affirmed that Vietnam has exercised the utmost restraint and maintained dialogue to avoid clashes, while firmly requesting China to withdraw the rig and ships from the area, as this is a violation of Vietnam’s sovereignty, sovereign right and jurisdiction, threatening marine stability and safety, and infringing upon the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Minh also informed that Vietnam has decided to join the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI).

For his part, Kerry applauded Vietnam ’s decision to join the PSI, considering it an important step to realise the country’s strong commitment to preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and enhancing security and safety of global trade and peace in the Asia-Pacific region.

About the East Sea issue, the US Secretary spoke highly of Vietnam ’s restraint and goodwill, reflected by the persistent use of peaceful solutions and dialogue, preventing the escalation of tensions that affects regional peace and stability.

He expressed deep concerns about recent developments in the East Sea , saying that China ’s unilateral installation of the oil rig in the sea is a provocative act that raises tensions in the region.

He reaffirmed the US ’s stand on the peaceful settlement of disputes in the East Sea on the basis of international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.

On May 21, Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Le Hai Binh said that after considering all aspects of the PSI carefully, Vietnam has declared to join the initiative on the basis of its support for the Statement of Interdiction Principles adopted in Paris on September 4, 2003.

This decision reflects Vietnam ’s consistent stance of backing international cooperation for preventing risks of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and related transport systems and materials, contributing to ensuring global peace and security, in line with international and national laws as well as powers and resources of each country.

Vietnam will participate in activities to realise the PSI within its capabilities, Binh said.-VNA