Vietnam has welcomed the US Senate’s Resolution 412 which calls on China to withdraw its drilling rig and associated maritime forces from their current positions, and to return immediately to the status quo as it existed before May 1, 2014.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh made the statement on July 11 in reply to reporters’ questions regarding the US Senate’s approval of Resolution 412 on July 10. The resolution reaffirms “the strong support of the United States Government for freedom of navigation and other internationally lawful uses of sea and airspace in the Asia-Pacific region, and for the peaceful diplomatic resolution of outstanding territorial and maritime claims and disputes.”

“Vietnam hopes nations inside and outside the region, including the US, will continue to make strong, practical, effective and constructive contributions to peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the region,” the spokesman said.

At the beginning of May 2014, China illegally dispatched the rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 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.

Despite Vietnam’s protest, China expanded its scale of operation and moved the rig to 15 degrees 33 minutes 36 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 34 minutes 11 seconds east longitude, 60 nautical miles deep inside Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.-VNA