China's deployment of a giant oil rig off Vietnam's coast runs counter to international law and threatens the peace, stability and maritime safety and security in the region, Vietnamese deputy foreign minister Pham Quang Vinh said Thursday.
In an interview with CNN Hong Kong, Vinh said China's incursion into Vietnam’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone and continental shelf is "completely and totally unacceptable."
The deployment of the Chinese oil rig near Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands, about 150 miles off Vietnam's coast, since early May has sparked strong protests from Vietnam.
Vinh said Vietnam has and continues to request China remove its oil rig and escort ships from Vietnam’s waters, refrain from any further military or provocative actions that could further escalate the tensions in the region and conduct itself in accordance with international norms.
He also affirmed Vietnam's sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago as well as the country’s absolute jurisdiction over the waters in accordance with the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Territorial disputes should be resolved diplomatically through appropriate channels or brought before an independent appropriate international tribunal for resolution in accordance with the law, not through bullying tactics and coercion, he said.
Vietnam will do whatever is necessary to protect its national sovereignty and legitimate interests in the East Sea through peaceful means in line with international laws, including UNCLOS, Vinh said.