China remains hard-headed despite 20 phone dialogues: minister

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Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh. PHOTO COURTESY OF TUOI TRE NEWSPAPER
Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh talked to the press Tuesday about the steps Vietnam has taken to cope with China’s illegal deployment of a huge oil rig into its exclusive economic zone.
Reporter: Vietnam recently sent a working group to China to discuss the latter’s deployment of the US$1-billion oil rig into Vietnam’s EEZ. How is the discussion going?
Minister Minh: The two sides have had a frank conversation in which we demanded that China withdraw the oil rig and its protective armada from Vietnam’s EEZ because China’s act violates our sovereignty.
Vietnam is determined to force China to withdraw.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung will arrive in the Philippines on May 21. Could you please brief us on the purpose of the trip?
The PM will visit the Philippines for the World Economic Forum on East Asia (WEF-EA).
Will he mention Vietnam’s viewpoints about China’s oil rig during the Forum?
The East Sea dispute is certainly complicated and we will strive to force China to remove the rig and its escort ships from Vietnam’s EEZ. We can surely mention the issue at international forums.
Recently Vietnamese officials, including you, had many telephone conversations with China about the oil rig. What is the result of those conversations?
Vietnam is still seeking to settle the dispute via diplomatic channels, including telephone conversations. We have made 20 phone calls in which we repeatedly demanded that China remove the rig and its armada from Vietnam’s EEZ, but the rig is still there and more Chinese vessels have been sent to guard it. China is too hard-headed to withdraw.
What will Vietnam do next?
As PM Nguyen Tan Dung and National Assemblyman Nguyen Sinh Hung said in his opening speech at the NA session this morning, we are determined to take measures to protect our sovereignty in accordance with international laws.
Will Vietnam bring China to an international court?
You may understand what it means when we say we will use all peaceful methods to protect our sovereignty.
China said it will cancel some agreements it signed with Vietnam. What's Vietnam's response to this?
So far no agreements have been canceled.

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