Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on May 22 met with Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives Feliciano J.Belmonte, who confirmed his country’s consistent support for Vietnam on the East Sea issue.

During the meeting in Manila, the speaker expressed his deep concern over China’s illegal positioning of its Haiyang Shiyou-981 drilling rig in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone.

He said that the lower house backs the stance shared by PM Dung and Philippine President Benigno Aquino that the two countries determinedly protest and call on other ASEAN member countries and the international community to continue raising their strong voices to force China to immediately end such violations. They also want international pressure to build for China to strictly abide by international law, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, and work towards the establishment of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea.

The host stressed the need to call for the international support on the East Sea issue as about 30-40 percent of the world’s total goods are being transported through its waters.

What China has done with Vietnam and the Philippines has just begun, he said, adding that if regional nations do not unify to prevent China’s acts, they can be the next victims of China when it is trying to realise its baseless so-called nine-dash line.

Belmonte agreed with the formation of a joint working committee between the two countries, saying that he hopes the committee will have bilateral coordination activities towards the upgrading of their bilateral ties to strategic partnership level.

For his part, PM Dung, who is on visit to the Philippines to attend the World Economic Forum, affirmed Vietnam’s consistent standpoint of determinedly demanding China immediately withdraw its drilling rig and armed ships from Vietnam’s waters.

China’s act is threatening peace, stability in the region as well as maritime security and safety in the East Sea, Dung said, adding that Vietnam will use all legal measures it can in line with international law to protect its legitimate interests and sovereignty.

The Vietnamese Government leader said that Vietnam always wants to work with the Philippines to develop bilateral ties in a deep, effective and practical manner in order to lift the relationship into a new height, for the interests of the two peoples, and for peace, security, stability and development in the region.-VNA