The World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) has expressed solidarity and support for Vietnam in its peaceful moves against China’s aggressive act of illegally placing a drilling rig in Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

In a letter sent to the Vietnam Fisheries Trade Union (VFTU), WFTU Deputy General Secretary H.Mahadevan has affirmed that his agency strongly advocates the VFTU in requiring China to respect international law as well as Vietnam’s sovereignty and territorial waters.

He stressed that no one is allowed to hinder Vietnamese fishermen from their normal activities in their country’s waters, and that all violating activities and attacks targeting Vietnamese fishermen are unacceptable.

As a coastal state along the East Sea, China arbitrarily made its claim about a vague “nine-dot line” in contrary to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS), infringing the waters of its neighbouring countries, and creating the so-called “disputed area” inside the waters of its neighbours. After these moves, China has brazenly asked its neighbours to “set aside disputes and explore the sea together” inside their own continental shelves.

Since the beginning of May 2014, China boldly dispatched the rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 as well as a large fleet of armed vessels, military ships and aircraft to Vietnamese waters and positioned the rig at a location 80 miles deep into the Vietnamese continental shelf and exclusive economic zone prescribed by the 1982 UNCLOS. The location is 17 nautical miles from Tri Ton Island in Vietnam’s Hoang Sa archipelago, which was occupied by force by China in the 1950s.

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

Such acts gravely violate international law, the 1982 UNCLOS, and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), to which China itself is a signatory. These extremely dangerous acts have been directly threatening peace, stability and maritime security and safety in the East Sea.

Vietnam has exercised utmost restraint, showed every gesture of goodwill and exhausted all dialogue channels to communicate with the Chinese authorities of different levels for expressing protest and demanding China to immediately withdraw its drilling rig and armed and military vessels from the Vietnamese waters.

Nevertheless, up to now, China has failed to respond to Vietnam’s legitimate demand. On the contrary, China 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