The Vietnamese community in the Netherlands on June 13 gathered in The Hague to protest against China’s illegal placement of its drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 in Vietnam’s waters.

During the protest, the second of its kind since the deployment of the rig in May, the demonstrators rallied from The Hague downtown, through many streets and ended in front of the Chinese Embassy.

They shouted slogans and raised banners in English, Vietnamese and Dutch denouncing China’s violation of Vietnam’s sovereignty and demanding China to respect international law and immediately withdraw its rig out of Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.

Speaking before the crowd in front of the Chinese Embassy, Chairman of the Overseas Vietnamese Association in The Hague Nguyen Cong Chung condemned China’s brazen actions that defy international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

He called on Beijing to abide by the law and stop violating Vietnam’s sovereignty over sea and islands.

The protestors, including many foreign friends, also signed a petition opposing China’s illegal acts, which will be sent to the Chinese Government through its embassy in the Netherlands .

At the beginning of May 2014, China illegally dispatched the rig as well as a large fleet of armed vessels, military ships and aircraft to Vietnam’s waters and positioned the rig at 15 degrees 29 minutes 58 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 12 minutes 06 seconds east longitude. The location is 80 miles deep into Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

China’s armed vessels 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.

Such acts gravely violate international law, the UNCLOS 1982, and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), to which China itself is a signatory. These extremely dangerous acts have been directly threatening peace, stability and maritime security and safety in the East Sea .

Vietnam has exercised utmost restraint, shown every gesture of goodwill and exhausted all dialogue channels to communicate with the Chinese authorities of different levels for expressing protest and demanding China to immediately withdraw its rig and armed and military vessels from Vietnam’s waters.

Nevertheless, up to now, China has failed to respond to Vietnam’s legitimate demand. On the contrary, it has been slandering and blaming Vietnam while continuing to escalate the use of force and acts of violation in an increasingly dangerous and serious manner.-VNA