President of the United Nations General Assembly’s 68th session John Ashe on June 10 voiced concern over the current East Sea situation, following China’s actions in Vietnam’s waters, backing Vietnam’s stance of solving the disputes peacefully based on the UN Charter and international law.

He made the statement when welcoming Ambassador Le Hoai Trung, head of the Permanent Representative Mission of Vietnam to the UN, who came to share information about China’s illegal placement of its Haiyang Shiyou-981 drilling rig deep inside Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

At the meeting, Trung said that since the positioning of the rig in early May, China has used a fleet of vessels, including military ships, and aircraft to hinder Vietnam’s law enforcement forces. In addition, Chinese ships have intentionally rammed against and fired water cannons at Vietnam’s vessels, causing damage to many boats and injuring people on board, even sinking one Vietnamese fishing boat.

The diplomat also confirmed that with its consistent policy of peacefully settling international disputes by international law and its wish to maintain friendship with China, Vietnam has exercised utmost restraint and tried to handle the current situation via dialogue and other peaceful measures. In particular it has abided by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

However, up to now, China has failed to respond to Vietnam’s legitimate demands for the withdrawal of the rig and a dialogue. On the contrary, it has been slandering and blaming Vietnam while continuing to escalate the use of force and violations in an increasingly dangerous and serious manner, he added.

Trung also asked the UN and the international community to continue supporting Vietnam’s goodwill demands.

During the meeting, the diplomat also brought out evidence affirming that China’s acts have violated Vietnam’s sovereign right and jurisdiction over its continental shelf and exclusive economic zone stipulated in the UNCLOS, as well as the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, and agreements signed by the two countries’ high-level officials.

Vietnam has full historical evidence as well as legal grounds to prove its sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago, he said, rejecting all groundless allegations about the situation made in Chinese documents circulated at the UN.

Ashe suggested the parties involved should not conduct unilateral acts that can escalate the tensions, affirming that he is always willing to help the parties deal with the situation.

At the beginning of May, China illegally positioned the rig at 15 degrees 29 minutes 58 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 12 minutes 06 seconds east longitude, 80 miles deep inside Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

However, on June 10, the rig moved east-southeast to an unfixed position.-VNA