The Vietnam Union of UNESCO Associations, a UN public organisation working for global peace and cooperation, has released a statement in strong opposition to China’s illegal installation of its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou – 981 in Vietnam’s waters.

As of May 2, China brazenly dispatched the rig and a large fleet of over 130 armed vessels, military ships and aircraft, in Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone, said the statement issued on June 4.

Ever since, the Chinese ships have aggressively fired high-pressure water cannons at and intentionally rammed into Vietnamese law enforcement and civil boats, causing damage to them and injuring many people on board . To make it worse, a Chinese ship on May 26 even sank a Vietnamese fishing vessel while it was operating as usual.

The union described China’s acts as a particularly serious violation of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, to which China is a signatory.

It condemned China for infringing upon Vietnam’s sovereign right and jurisdiction, directly threatening peace, stability, maritime and aviation security and safety in the East Sea. Such actions have also revealed China’s ambition for gaining hegemony over the strategic sea.

For this reason, it requested China to withdraw the rig and vessels from Vietnam’s waters immediately and prevent similar occurrences, further arguing that countries need to behave in a civilised and responsible manner on the basis of respecting international law, territorial sovereignty and the legitimate interests of other states.

As for the Vietnamese side, the country always sincerely expects to settle disputes by peaceful means in compliance with international law, equality and mutual respect for the sake of the two peoples, it said, quoting Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s statement at the 24 th ASEAN Summit in Myanmar last month.

In the document, the union urged its counterparts from China and countries worldwide, Chinese people and peace-lovers around the world to speak for justice and international law, which it said should be fully observed.

Vietnam has so far exercised the utmost restraint, shown every gesture of goodwill and exhausted all dialogue channels to communicate with Chinese authorities of different levels in order to express protest and demand China 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