The Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs on June 23 sent a diplomatic note to the Vietnamese Embassy in Vientiane, voicing their concern over the current East Sea situation.

The document was sent in response to the embassy’s diplomatic note on the East Sea situation since China illegally positioned its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in early May.

In the document, the ministry said the East Sea is an important and sensitive area, thus it is of paramount importance to maintain and further promote peace, stability and cooperation.

Laos is closely following and worried about developments in these waters, the note stated, adding that the country demands all parties concerned to restrain from actions that may escalate the tension.

The country calls on all sides to not use or threaten to use force and to solve disputes peacefully in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, it said.

It said the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea must be strongly implemented, while ongoing official consultations on a Code of Conduct of Parties in the East Sea need to be stepped up so as to help maintain and foster peace, stability and cooperation in the waters.

At the beginning of May 2014, China illegally dispatched its 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.

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