Continuing the peaceful protests against China seen in Sweden last week, nearly 300 Vietnamese students and their Filipino peers took to the streets of Stockholm on June 1, waving banners demanding that China remove its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou – 981 from Vietnam’s waters.

Demonstrators made their way through thoroughfares before stopping in front of the Chinese embassy in the capital and playing pre-recorded speeches in Vietnamese, English and Swedish denouncing the illegal presence of the Chinese rig.

In early May, the rig was placed at 15 degrees 29 minutes 58 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 12 minutes 6 seconds east longitude, 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, still well within Vietnam’s waters.

The rally came during peak time in Sweden’s tourist season, with many foreign onlookers experiencing the rally.

Earlier on May 29 in Bulgaria, Ambassador Le Duc Luu gave a full account of the latest developments in the East Sea to 12 members of the Bulgaria – Vietnam Friendship Parliamentarians’ Group, at the request of its Chairman Dimitar Dubov.

The group calls on China to adopt every measure to ease tension and curb any unilateral act that potentially undermines peace and stability in the region, the diplomat said.

He also urged China to respect the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, to which it is a signatory.

According to him, all parties concerned should conduct negotiations to settle the disputes by peaceful means, ensuring safety, security and maritime freedom in the East Sea.

Ever since the tensions began, Vietnam has 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 violations in an increasingly dangerous and serious manner.

By encircling, chasing, ramming and spraying Vietnamese boats, they have injured many sailors and fishermen, threatening their lives.

On May 26, Chinese ship 11209 sank a Vietnamese fishing vessel while it was operating normally in its usual area near Hoang Sa archipelago.-VNA