Jeffrey Feltman, United Nations (UN) Under Secretary General for Political Affairs, has applauded Vietnam’s stance on solving the East Sea issue peacefully in line with international law, amidst ongoing tensions triggered by China’s illegal placement of an oil rig in Vietnam’s waters.

The UN official expressed the viewpoint at a meeting with Ambassador Le Hoai Trung, head of the Vietnam mission at the UN, in New York on June 2.

The Vietnamese diplomat updated Feltman on the latest developments regarding China’s illegal positioning of the rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.

Trung vehemently castigated China for this act and the continuous deployment of many surrounding ships, including military vessels, and aircraft in the rig’s vicinity.

He also noted that Chinese ships have intentionally rammed and fired high-pressure water cannons into Vietnam’s public-service ships, damaging many vessels and injuring people.
Meanwhile, on May 26, Chinese ship 11209 sank a Vietnamese fishing vessel that was operating normally in its traditional fishing ground near Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago.

The ambassador said that such Chinese acts seriously violate international law, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982, the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and agreements reached by the two countries’ leaders, jeopardising peace, stability, security and safety of navigation in the East Sea.

At the meeting with the UN official, Trung pointed out legal and historical evidence testifying to Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago.

He underlined Vietnam’s consistent policy of settling international disputes peacefully in accordance with international law and its willingness to maintain and develop its friendship with China.

He added his country has exercised the utmost restraint and conducted serious talks with China at many levels under various forms, demanding that it remove the rig and ships and join negotiations with Vietnam to solve their differences.

The diplomat asked the UN and international community to continue their support for Vietnam’s suggestions and call on all parties concerned to restrain themselves from making unilateral moves that may escalate the situation, including using or threatening to use force.

In response, Feltman said that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is concerned about the current situation in the East Sea.

Stressing the importance of these waters to the world, Feltman voiced his worry over the tensions and appealed to all sides for restraint and the settlement of disputes through dialogues and peaceful measures in compliance with the UN Charter and international law.

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

On May 27, China moved the rig to 15 degrees 33 minutes 22 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 34 minutes 36 seconds east longitude. The new location is 25 nautical miles from Tri Ton Island in Vietnam’s Hoang Sa archipelago and 23 nautical miles east-northeast from the old location, still completely within Vietnam’s continental shelf.-VNA