Associations for friendship with Vietnam in various European countries have issued a joint resolution demanding that China respect international law and immediately withdraw its oil rig out of Vietnam’s waters as well as stop all violent actions.

The resolution issued on June 30 was the common voice of friendship associations of France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, the UK, Denmark, the Swedish Committee for Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and the Italian Institute for Vietnam Studies.

It stated that many tense clashes have taken place near Tri Ton island in Hoang Sa archipelago in the South China Sea which Vietnam calls the East Sea since May 2. China positioned its Haiyang Shiyou-981 rig together with hundreds of escort ships at this site, which is in Lot 143 in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. Many Vietnamese ships were rammed or attacked by water cannons, and many Vietnamese were injured.

The associations once again expressed deep concern about escalating tension, while affirming that territorial disputes in Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago cannot be settled by provocative and violent acts or unilateral move to create a fait accompli.

The resolution also underscored that in this situation as well as in all situations, international law must be upheld, and in any territorial disputes at sea, it is a must to abide by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, to which both Vietnam and China are signatories.

The resolution stated that in this situation, China is running counter to international law by putting pressure on its neighbours to achieve its ambition, which is totally unacceptable.

It also pointed out that China’s illegal move has harmed its relations with Vietnam and broke the agreements that China signed with the ASEAN, including the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).
At the beginning of May 2014, China illegally dispatched the rig as well as a large fleet of armed vessels, military ships and aircraft to Vietnam’s waters and positioned the rig at 15 degrees 29 minutes 58 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 12 minutes 06 seconds east longitude, 80 miles deep into Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

Despite Vietnam’s protest, China 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, 60 nautical miles deep inside Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

China’s armed vessels have aggressively and consistently fired high-power water cannons at and intentionally rammed against Vietnamese public-service and civil ships, causing damage to many boats and injuring many people on board.

On May 26, Chinese ships even sank a fishing boat belonging to Da Nang fishermen operating in the traditional fishing grounds near Vietnam’s Hoang Sa archipelago.-VNA