The Vietnam War Veterans’ Association (VWVA) and the Vietnam Women’s Union (VWU) on May 13 strongly protested China ’s illegal placement of a drilling rig in Vietnam ’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.

In its statement, the VWVA said that on May 2, China stationed the drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 at 15 degrees 29 minutes 58 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 12 minutes 06 seconds east longitude. The location is 80 nautical miles deep in Vietnam ’s continental shelf and 119 nautical miles to Vietnam ’s Ly Son Island.

China has also deployed a large number of escort ships and aircraft to the site. These ships have repeatedly attacked Vietnamese ships in the area, causing heavy material damage and threatening human life.

“China’s rig and escort ships are operating entirely in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf stipulated in the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” the statement affirmed.

China ’s acts defied international law and seriously violated Vietnam ’s sovereignty and the UNCLOS to which China is a signatory. They ran counter to the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) signed between China and ASEAN, complicating the situation, causing instability and threatening the freedom of maritime trade in the East Sea .

China ’s new and serious actions went against the joint statements of the two countries’ leaders and agreements on strengthening the strategic partnership, seriously hurting the friendly neighbourliness between the two peoples.

As a socio-political organisation representing war veterans, the VWVA strongly opposed and asked China to immediately stop the illegal acts, withdraw the rig and escort ships from Vietnam ’s waters, and prevent the recurrence of similar acts in the future.

The association strongly affirmed Vietnam ’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos, sovereign right and jurisdiction over the country’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in the East Sea in line with the provisions of international law.

It demanded the Chinese side to strictly abide by international law, especially the 1982 UNCLOS, and commitments in the DOC between China and ASEAN, as well as agreements reached between high-ranking leaders of the two countries.

The association voiced its total support for the policy and efforts by the Vietnamese government and authorities in safeguarding Vietnam ’s legitimate sovereignty through peaceful measures.

It called on countries and veterans’ associations and individuals all over the world to raise their voice in the protection of justice and international law, and said it stands ready to do its utmost to, together with the whole people, encourage the Vietnamese young generation to resolutely safeguard the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and interests.

The VWU also issued a statement condemning China ’s brazen violation of Vietnam’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, sovereign right and jurisdiction. It is also a violation of the 1982 UNCLOS and the DOC, running counter to commitments the two countries’ leaders have repeatedly affirmed.

The statement voiced VWU and all of Vietnamese women’s discontent to China ’s wrongful and dangerous move that seriously hurts the friendship between the people, especially women, of the two countries.

The union called on international partners and women all over the world, including those in China , to raise their voice in the protection of peace and justice, demanding the Chinese government to abide by international law and to immediately withdraw the rig and escort ships from Vietnam ’s waters.

It pledged to do all it can to nurture the international solidarity and friendship, thus contributing to the goals of equality, development and peace as jointly pledged by women throughout the world at the 4 th world women’s conference held in Beijing in 1995.-VNA