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Vietnam demands reply from China over illegal oil rig

Friday, May 16, 2014, 10:30 GMT+7

Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh has asked Chinese authorities to reply to Vietnam’s demand that China remove its drilling rig from Vietnamese waters.

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Deputy PM Minh, who is also Minister of Foreign Affairs, made the request when he had a talk over the phone with the Chinese Minster of Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi on Thursday afternoon. During the talk, Minh once again strongly protested against China’s illegal placement of oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 in Vietnamese waters since May 1. The Vietnamese official demanded that China immediately withdraw the rig and its escort ships – as many as 100 vessels – from the Vietnamese seas. By planting the rig in the waters, China has obviously violated Vietnam’s sovereign right and jurisdiction over its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in the East Vietnam Sea, Deputy PM Minh said. China’s violation has seriously broken international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the East Vietnam Sea (DOC), Minh said. At the same time, China’s act has undermined the mutual trust between the two countries and has gone against the mutual consent between the high-ranking leaders of Vietnam and China as well as the basic guidelines for settling issues at sea between the two nations, he told the Chinese official. Deputy PM Minh also affirmed that Vietnamese forces have restrained themselves during the past days, adding that Deputy Foreign Minister Ho Xuan Son visited China from May 13 to 15 to have straightforward talks with Chinese authorities about the illegal deployment of the rig in Vietnam’s waters.  Minh requested that the Chinese side consider the issue and reply to Vietnam soon. The Chinese rig has been put at 15°29’58’’ North latitude and 111°12’06’’ East longitude in the East Vietnam Sea, which lies well within the Southeast Asian country’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. On May 6, during a phone call with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi regarding the illegal operation of the oil rig, Foreign Minister Minh also demanded that China move the drilling rig and escort vessels out of the area and hold talks to resolve differences around the issue. Regarding recent riots conducted by saboteurs who took advantage of peaceful marches in some provinces against China’s illegal rig placement, Minh said during the phone call on Thursday that the Vietnamese government will try its best to ensure a safe investment environment for foreign investors. During the riots, many people smashed and destroyed assets of both Vietnamese and foreign companies in some industrial parks, Minh said. He promised that the Vietnamese government will do its utmost to ensure absolute safety for foreigners, foreign businesses, and international organizations, including Chinese nationals and companies, in accordance with Vietnam’s laws and its relevant international commitments. As of yesterday, Vietnamese police had detained more than 1,000 people for their involvement in the riots in southern Binh Duong and Dong Nai Provinces and central Ha Tinh Province.

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