Transport ministry representatives on May 13 presented gifts to fisheries surveillance and Vietnamese coast guard forces in Hanoi as an encouragement for their officers to safeguard national sovereignty in the East Sea.

After being informed of the latest development surrounding China’s illegal deployment of its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 and escort ships in Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone, they promised to launch more fund-raising campaigns in support of officers at sea.

Vice Political Commissar of the Vietnam Coast Guard High Command, Maj. Gen. Hoang Van Dong said the coast guards always stand firm no matter how hard their situation.

On May 2, China stationed the 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 in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and 119 nautical miles from Vietnam’s Ly Son Island.

China has so far deployed 86 vessels of various kinds to the area, including military, coast guard, marine surveillance, marine patrol and fisheries 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 nine fisheries surveillance officers injured.-VNA