Participants at a recent seminar in Norway on maritime security in East Asia have expressed special concern about China’s unilateral acts in defiance of international law in the East Sea, saying that these acts are threatening international security and safety.

The two main speakers at seminar, hosted by the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), were Prof. Geoff Till from the Defence Studies Department at King’s College London and Dr. Sam Bateman from the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security at the University of Wollongong.

During the seminar, delegates focused their attention on the impacts caused by China’s acts on security and stability in East Asia. Many stressed that China must pay respect to international law, saying that its so-called “nine-dot line” claim has no legal basis and thus it could not be considered a foundation for negotiations.

The delegates called on China and the parties involved to seek effective ways to constrain potential conflicts in the East Sea while starting negotiation to solve disputes peacefully in order to maintain peace, stability and security in the region.

Participants also touched upon the urgent need to build trust and strengthen maritime security cooperation in Asia-Pacific.

Representatives from the Vietnamese Embassy in Norway circulated to the delegates the embassy’s news bulletins on latest developments around China’s illegal placement of its rig within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, together with comments by Vietnamese leaders and the Vietnamese Foreign Minister’s spokesperson.

In early May, China illegally placed its Haiyang Shiyou-981 drilling rig in Vietnam’s waters. It has also dispatched a large fleet of armed vessels, military ships and aircraft to defend the rig.
China’s vessels have aggressively 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.

As many as 24 law enforcement ships of Vietnam have been damaged and 12 fisheries surveillance officials have been injured by the Chinese side in the last month, Ngo Ngoc Thu, Vice Commander and Chief of Staff of the Vietnam Coast Guard said at an international press conference in Hanoi on June 5.

He said the Vietnamese ships were destroyed after being rammed and fired with water cannons while performing their mission of demanding China withdraw its rig from Vietnam’s waters.-VNA