More than 1,000 Buddhist monks, nuns and followers in Ho Chi Minh City on June 1 prayed for peace in the East Sea following China’s illegal placement of its Haiyang Shiyou-981 oil rig in Vietnamese waters.

At the ceremony, which took place at Pho Quang Pagoda in Tan Binh district, the participants also launched a campaign to raise funds for fishermen, coast guard and fisheries surveillance forces who are constantly safeguarding national sovereignty at sea.

The Most Venerable Thich Tri Quang, Vice Chairman of the Executive Board of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha cum Head of the HCM City Chapter, stressed that Buddhist monks and nuns always support the country in national construction and defence.

Also at the event, the Most Venerable Thich Duc Nghiep, Deputy Patriarch of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha’s Patronage Council, delivered the Patriarch’s message for peace in the East Sea, calling on the Buddhist Association of China as well as Buddhist dignitaries and followers throughout the world to take concrete actions to support justice and urge the Chinese Government to implement its commitments under international law.

In his message, the Patriarch also asked China to implement its responsibility for protecting and preserving peace as well as respecting the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of neighbouring countries, including Vietnam.

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 6 seconds east longitude. The location is 80 miles deep into Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

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

Chinese ships have continuously encircled, constrained and driven away Vietnamese fishing boats and even injured Vietnamese fishermen, threatening their lives.

On May 26, Chinese ship 11209 sank a Vietnamese fishing vessel while it was operating normally in its traditional fishing ground near Vietnam ’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago.

On May 27, China moved the rig to 15 degrees 33 minutes 22 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 34 minutes 36 seconds east longitude.

The new location is 25 nautical miles from Tri Ton Island in Vietnam’s Hoang Sa archipelago and 23 nautical miles east-northeast from the old location, still completely within Vietnam’s continental shelf.

With the move, China has kept on violating Vietnam’s sovereign right and jurisdiction.-VNA