Many foreigners on May 21 joined the Vietnamese community in Switzerland in a demonstration in front of the United Nations office in Geneva to protest China’s aggressive act of illegally placing a drilling rig in Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

Swiss lawyer Piere Schifferli declared that China’s unilateral deployment of its Haiyang Shiyou-981 drilling rig in Vietnam’s waters seriously infringes the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, running counter to the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea signed by China and ASEAN member countries.

The Geneva-based International Peace Bureau (IPB) released a message expressing its hope that Vietnam will safeguard its sovereignty by peaceful means.

In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency’s correspondent in Geneva, IPB Secretary General Colin Archer said that the international community always backs the power of justice and peace and works together towards a world without war. All sovereign disputes must be solved on the basis of international law, he added.

Earlier, the Association of Vietnamese in Romania, and Vietnamese students in Auckland, New Zealand also voiced their objections to China’s provocative action in the East Sea, demanding that the country immediately removes the rig out of Vietnam’s waters.

On May 2, China stationed the Haiyang Shiyou-981 oil rig 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 inside Vietnam ’s exclusive economic zone and 119 nautical miles to Vietnam ’s Ly Son Island.

On May 21, China maintained the presence of 95 ships of various kinds around the rig.

Chinese ships have repeatedly rammed and fired water cannons at 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