The domestic media has done a good job of covering the latest developments in the East Sea, especially since China towed its illegal oil rig Haiyang Shiyou – 981 in Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone in early May.

Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Truong Minh Tuan offered the praise in an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency on the occasion of Vietnam Revolutionary Press Day (June 21), during which he was questioned about the role of the media in the struggle for national sovereignty over seas and islands.

Tens of thousands of reporters, including those posted to Hoang Sa archipelago, have produced a lot of persuasive articles, truthfully reflecting what is going on there in an unbiased perspective, he said.

China’s illegal acts, as a result, have been brought to light, with waves of peaceful marches by Vietnamese and foreigners taking place worldwide to speak out against China and side with Vietnam in its quest for justice.

They are of the same opinion that China has breached the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea.

Via media coverage, they have been made aware that Vietnam will steadfastly address any dispute by negotiations and peaceful means to safeguard its national sovereignty, which has become its top mission.

Asked how the world media has responded to the issue, Tuan said those from Japan, ASEAN and western nations are on the side of Vietnam, adding that they have exposed the true nature of the ongoing spat to the public.

The international community has also voiced concern over China’s unilateral provocations, and urged the country to stop any escalation that will complicate the situation, he said.

Turning his attention to the entries for the 2013 national press award, Tuan said 11 of them vividly feature Vietnam’s border and territorial sovereignty, including nine highlighting sovereignty over seas and islands.

He suggested that more stories of this kind should be made headline as the country is conducting an information campaign about the issue.

In addition, the domestic media should also cover other issues of the nation, including socio-economic development, investment attraction, and the fight against negative phenomena, he added.

Despite Vietnam’s protest, China has 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.

As of June 19, Vietnam detected two Chinese minesweepers operating about 18-21 nautical miles from the rig.

On the day, about 38 Chinese fishing ships, backed by two coast guard ships, coded 46102 and 44608, continued to violently disturb Vietnamese fishing boats operating about 37 nautical miles from the rig.-VNA