The Vietnamese community in Laos gathered at a pagoda in Vientiane capital city to pray for national territorial integrity following China’s illegal positioning of its Haiyang Shiyou-981 drilling rig in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.

The ceremony saw the participation of representatives from the Vietnamese Embassy, associations of Vietnamese businesses operating in Laos, and Lao monks.

Participants showed their feelings towards soldiers who are safeguarding the country’s sea and island sovereignty, while condemning China for disregarding and violating Vietnam’s territory. They demanded China withdraw its oil rig from Vietnam’s waters.

Lao monks prayed for the Vietnamese living in peace and joining hands with the Lao people to build the special relations between the two countries.

At the beginning of May 2014, China illegally dispatched the rig 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.

China’s armed vessels aggressively fired high-power water cannons at and intentionally rammed against Vietnamese public-service and civil ships, causing damage to many boats and injuring many people on board.

Chinese ships have continuously encircled, constrained and driven away Vietnamese fishing boats and even injured Vietnamese fishermen, threatening their lives.

On May 26, Chinese ship 11209 sank a Vietnamese fishing vessel while it was operating normally in its traditional fishing ground near Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago.-VNA