|A Chinese ship fires water cannon at Vietnam vessels. Photo provided by the Vietnam Coast Guard.
The Vietnam-ASEAN Friendship and Cooperation Association on May 15 issued a statement denouncing the illegal installation of Chinese drilling rig in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.
The statement also pointed to the fact that China put into operation a large force of escort ships, including military vessels and aircraft. China’s armed vessels attacked Vietnamese ships operating in the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of Vietnam, causing heavy material damage and injuring many people on board of the fisheries control force and maritime police of Vietnam.
“These actions by China seriously violate international law and practice as well as Vietnam’s sovereignty, Vietnam’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf prescribed by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in which China is a member country; go against the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) between ASEAN member states and China, complicate and destabilize the regional situation, threaten peace, freedom of navigation in the region,” said the statement.
The association warned that peace, stability, maritime security and safety, and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea, which is the common interest of ASEAN, the region and the world are under a serious threat.
It urged China to withdraw promptly the drilling rig and all means of escort from the Vietnamese waters and not repeat such actions in the future.
“We advocate negotiations to settle the disputes via peaceful means on the basis of international law, meeting the aspiration and friendship sentiments of the people of Vietnam and China, for the peace and stability in the region and the world,” the statement read.
The Vietnam-ASEAN Friendship and Cooperation Association highly welcomed and appreciated the 24th ASEAN Summit and ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar for raising concern over the above tension and demanding that the relevant parties strictly observe international law, the 1982 UNCLOS, the DOC and work towards early conclusion of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea, which it said reflects the solidarity, high consensus and responsibility of ASEAN for peace, stability and security as a whole in the region and the world.
The association called on ASEAN members, other countries in the world, individuals and international organisations to continue voicing their protest against China’s dangerous acts and demanding China to strictly observe international law, especially to respect the legal sovereignty of Vietnam, to implement fully and strictly implement the DOC to which China is a signatory.