Former Vice President Nguyen Thi Binh has sent a letter on China’s violations of the Vietnamese sovereignty to her friends around the world, affirming the Vietnamese people’s desire for peace for development.

In her open letter, Binh condemned China ’s illegal placement of its giant oil rig in the continental shelf and exclusive economic zone of Vietnam with over 100 ships, including military vessels, and aircraft protecting the rig from the beginning of May.

“This is a serious act, violating the Vietnamese sovereignty and running counter to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” she wrote.

Vietnam has used both diplomatic channels and other mediums to communicate with China . It has also sent some law enforcement ships to the area where the rig is illegally standing, to ask China to respect Vietnam ’s sovereignty and withdraw the rig from the Vietnamese waters, she said.

China has, to date, not responded to the goodwill of Vietnam , instead choosing to take increasingly aggressive actions, Binh added.

“I feel a stinging pain in my heart when seeing images of many bigger Chinese ships ramming smaller Vietnamese law enforcement vessels. What will happen next?”
She added world opinion was concerned that China ’s actions would impact safety and freedom of international navigation and threaten the peace and security of the whole region. Meanwhile the Chinese side has preposterously blamed what is happening on Vietnam ’s provocation, she stressed.

“Who can believe that Vietnam, whose population is one-fifteenth of China’s, and whose GDP is up to 60 times smaller, is able to provoke China,” she asked.

She queried China ’s so-called “nine dash” claim to monopolise the whole East Sea , ignoring international law, especially UNCLOS 1982, as well as the world protest.

In her letter, Binh reminded readers of China ’s deployment of more than 200,000 troops to “teach Vietnam a lesson” just after the anti-US war ended. “What was the lesson? It was difficult to believe that a giant socialist nation chose to attack a smaller socialist country that had just escaped from war. But it was true,” she wrote.

In 1974, when the war was still going on, China brazenly occupied Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago of Vietnam by force, and in 1988, it again attacked and occupied some islands in Truong Sa (Spartly), another archipelago of Vietnam .

Today, the Vietnamese people are endeavouring to develop the country, sparing no effort to create an environment of peace and stability and willing to cooperate with other countries for development, she said.

“We have even boosted our ties with the United State, who caused pain to us in the past, because Vietnam advocates looking to the future and putting aside the past. For China, our major neighbour, despite the ups and downs in our history and the disputes that still need to be settled, we always keep in mind that the two peoples stood shoulder by shoulder in the struggle for national liberation. So Vietnam always desires to have good relations with China, and supports solving all disputes through peaceful measures based on mutual trust,” she said.

“And we have done so, acting with modesty and restraint,” she wrote, but stressing that independence, freedom and sovereignty are sacred things for each nation and the Vietnamese people will struggle to the last to safeguard these.
“ Vietnam desires a just, real and long-lasting peace for the Vietnamese people and other nations in the region and the world, as well as friendship with China and other countries, but it must be a true and sincere friendship with mutual respect,” Binh said.

“We hope you will support us like you did in the past,” she urged, calling for China to immediately withdraw the rig from Vietnam ’s continental shelf, and respect the country’s sovereignty in accordance with international law.

In conclusion, she said she believes that justice and the law will prevail, when everyone acts firmly in solidarity.-VNA