Chairperson of the Italian Senate’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Pier Ferdinando Casini has voiced deep concern over China’s acts in the East Sea following its illegal placement of a drilling rig in Vietnam’s waters.

Speaking at a workshop on international sea law on May 28, the Senator stated that the East Sea issue must be settled through peaceful measures and dialogues, on the basis of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

He confirmed his committee’s backing of the May 8 statement by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, which said that unilateral actions could affect security in the region.

Casini is not the only Italian politician raising objection to China’s acts since it unilaterally positioned its Haiyang Shiyou-981 rig deep inside Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, violating Vietnam’s sovereignty as well as international law and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea to which China is also a signatory.

Earlier on May 16, Deputy Enzo Amendola of the Democratic Party said all unilateral acts will pose serious threat to security in the region, which is one of the world’s economic hubs.

According to him, to eliminate tensions in the East Sea, involved parties should seek peaceful and cooperative solutions in line with international law, especially the UNCLOS, in order to continue ensuring the freedom of navigation.

On May 14, Senator Antonio Razzi asked Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini to promptly issue orientations to the country’s reaction relating to developments in the East Sea.

At the beginning of May, China illegally dispatched the Haiyang Shiyou-981 rig, as well as a large fleet of armed 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. The location is 80 miles deep inside Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

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, still completely within Vietnam’s continental shelf.

Chinese ships around the rig have repeatedly rammed and fired water cannons into Vietnamese coast guard and fisheries surveillance ships which are carrying out their law enforcement missions in the country’s waters, leaving many Vietnamese ships damaged and many fisheries surveillance officers injured.-VNA