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Up to 27 Vietnamese ships attacked by Chinese vessels: official

Up to 27 Vietnamese ships attacked by Chinese vessels: official

Thursday, June 26, 2014, 11:23 GMT+7

As many as 27 Vietnamese fisheries surveillance force ships have been intentionally rammed into by Chinese vessels so far, a Vietnamese senior maritime official has stated.

Ha Le, vice head of the Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance Department, revealed the above shocking number at a press conference held by the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hanoi on Thursday.

Le also revealed that 15 Vietnamese fisheries surveillance force members have suffered injuries by attacks from the Chinese side since Beijing has deployed its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 to Hanoi’s seawaters in the East Vietnam Sea early last month.

Le strongly rejected allegations that Vietnamese ships have hit Chinese ships, saying they are wrongful accusations.

* Tien Phong Newspaper [a local newspaper]: China has stated that they did not dispatch warships to guard its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981. What are your comments on their statement?  

Colonel Ngo Ngoc Thu, Vice Commander and Chief of Staff of Vietnam’s Coast Guard: That is absolutely false. We have enough evidence to prove that China has deployed six different types of military boats to guard its oil rig. International journalists have such evidence either. There is a vast gap between their words and deeds.

From June 16 to 25, China frequently deployed from 109 to 125 vessels, including four warships, to guard its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981.

They often used tug boats to block Vietnamese ships on both sides to make it possible for other Chinese vessels to ram into our ships. Bejiing also dispatched a number of aircraft, including jet fighters, to threaten our ships.

Additionally, they repeatedly prevented Vietnamese fishing boats from operating in our traditional fishing ground which is about 30 nautical miles away from its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981.

* An Ninh Thu Do [a local newspaper]: China has just issued a new national map which is marked out by a ten-dash demarcation line, incorporating the vast East Vietnam Sea. What are your opinions?   

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Le Hai Binh: We would like to underscore that the issuance of the map has seriously violated international law and their former nine-dash line claim of the East Vietnam Sea has been denounced by many countries. Vietnam resolutely protests this move.

* Dan Viet [a local newspaper]: During a recent visit to Vietnam made by Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, Hanoi and Beijing reached an agreement to stabilize the East Vietnam Sea situation. However, further provocations from the Chinese side have been reported at the scene. What do you think?

Spokesman Le Hai Binh: Good will on both sides is needed to solve this issue. The issue will be more serious if one side shows their perversion.

* AFP: Does Vietnam sue China at international courts? If so, when will the legal action be made?

Spokesman Le Hai Binh: I’ve repeatedly asserted that Vietnam has taken peaceful measures, including legal actions, to safeguard maritime sovereignty. This policy has been supported by internatiotnal community. We are considering what time is convenient to take legal actions against China.

* AFP: What are your comments on reports that China has canceled many tours to Vietnam?

Spokesman Le Hai Binh: We have followed a policy of maintaining normal activities with China. In response to your question, I would like to say that Vietnam has done its utmost to safeguard the Chinese community and enterprises following riots in Binh Duong southern province that caused damage to many foreign-invested firms.

A German newspaper: Vietnam is expected to spend more than US$7 million as compensations for companies which had assets damaged during the Binh Duong riots. But reports said only $200,000 has been disbursed. Can you confirm that?

Spokesman Le Hai Binh: Right after the Binh Duong incident, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung instructed relevant authorities to assess damage and provide support to the affected enterprises. So far all the affected firms have resumed their normal operations. We will ask the Ministry of Planning and Investment to announce the exact amount of money that has been disbursed.

* AP: China has deployed one more oil rig to the East Vietnam Sea? What are viewpoints of Vietnam?

Spokesman Le Hai Binh: The Nan Hai Jiu Hao oil rig, the second drilling platform that China has towed to the East Vietnam Sea, is situated in an overlapping sea area. Any economic operation in an area that is subject to a maritime boundary delimitation is against international law and practices.

We are verifying reports that China has deployed more oil rigs to the East Vietnam Sea. The expected move not only causes concerns to Vietnam but also to many countries claiming soverenity in the sea.

AP: Colonel Ngo Ngoc Thu, Vice Commander and Chief of Staff of Vietnam’s Coast Guard, used to warn that “all restraint had a limit." Did the recent alleged attack from China go beyond Vietnam’s limits?

Colonel Ngo Ngoc Thu: As I said during the first international press conference held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since China has towed its first oil rig to the East Vietnam Sea that Vietnam would exercise restraint but any restraint had its limit.

Vietnam consistently uses peaceful measures to settle issues in relation to the East Vietnam Sea. That policy is our first priority.

We will take such measures despite the fact that our ships have been repeatedlly smashed into by Chinese vessels. However, we, as the Coast Guard force, will take all necessary measures ordered by the State if our national interests and sovereignty are infringed upon.

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Tuoi Tre

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