France signals support for Vietnam maritime security

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A Chinese ship intentionally rams a Vietnamese vessel on May 16. PHOTO COURTESY OF VIETNAM MARINE POLICE
French Rear Admiral Pascal Ausseur has said his country wants to provide Vietnam's navy with support and technology transfer.
France, with strong experience in producing defense equipment, is ready to help better Vietnam’s naval forces with more modern equipment, Ausseur, Director for International Development for Asia and Pacific at the French Defense Ministry’s General Directorate for Armament, told reporters on May 14.
He said French defense industry would like to cooperate with Vietnam on a long-term basis.
Ausseur said Asia plays an increasingly important role in terms of both economics and security of the world. Thus, stability in the region is vital for the world, including France, he said.
Responding to questions on his point of view about the ongoing tensions in the East Sea (aka the South China Sea), he said the European Union had issued a statement expressing its concern over the tensions.
France is one of the countries involving in drafting the statement, he said, adding that France, like the European community, wish that related parties solve the matter through peaceful measures.
Tensions between China and Vietnam have risen sharply since China unilaterally moved a deep-water drilling rig into Vietnamese territorial waters on May 1. A large number of Chinese vessels, including warships, and two fighter jets were dispatched to the site to guard the illegal rig.
Vietnam’s fisheries surveillance department said Friday China raised the number of escorted ships to 126, up 27 from earlier days.
Chinese armed ships continuously rammed and sprayed high-pressure water cannons at Vietnam’s marine police ships tasked with stopping the Haiyang Shiyou-981 rig from illegally drilling in Vietnamese waters, the department said.
Chinese fishing vessels with iron hulls, meanwhile, repeatedly rammed Vietnamese fishing vessels operating near the rig, it continued.
China has publicly claimed nearly the entire East Sea by releasing the now infamous "nine-dashed line" map which includes areas claimed by Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines.
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