Members of the Mexico – Vietnam Friendship Parliamentary Group (MVFFG) and Mexican Chamber of Deputies have expressed their support to Vietnam’s legitimate rights and criticised China’s wrongful acts in Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

They voiced this at an unscheduled meeting in Mexico City on May 15, under the chair of MVFFG President and General Secretary of Workers’ Party (PT) Alberto Anaya Gutierrez.

They also issued a statement calling on China and Vietnam to seek a solution to their ongoing tension via dialogue or political moves in order to avoid any armed conflict.

The document, which is set to be made public on May 16, urges the Senate and Chamber of Deputies’ Foreign Relations Committees to request the United Nations (UN) to settle the dispute in accordance with international practices. It also sends a message of peace to both the Chinese and Vietnamese embassies.

At the meeting, Ambassador Le Thanh Tung informed them that in early May, China illegally positioned its rig Haiyang Shiyou – 981, escorted by some 100 armed and military ships, at 15 degrees 29 minutes 58 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 12 minutes 06 seconds east longitude. The location is 80 nautical miles inside Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.

After mentioning damage that the Chinese side has caused to the vessels and crewmembers of the Vietnamese coast guard and fisheries surveillance forces, Tung made it clear that Vietnam is steadfastly exercising restraints while using all dialogue channels and different levels of communication with China, asking it to withdraw its rig and ships from Vietnam’s waters without delay.

Vietnam always values the improvement of friendship and cooperation with China and the peaceful settlement of disputes in line with international law, and on the basis of equality and mutual respect, he said, adding that the country has the right to condemn any illegal act and firmly safeguard its sovereignty and legitimate interests by all necessary steps in conformity to international law.

He noted that Vietnam has called on the UN, ASEAN member states and the world community to protest against China’s wrongful acts. For the past fortnight, Vietnam has received support from many individuals, political and civil organisations abroad in its fight for legitimate rights and interests.

China has deployed vessels of various kinds to the area, including military, coast guard, marine surveillance, marine patrol and fishing ships.

The provocative acts by China, including the ramming and firing of water cannons into Vietnamese coast guard ships during their law enforcement missions in the country’s waters, have left many Vietnamese ships damaged and fisheries surveillance officers injured./.