Vietnam calls for ASEAN unity against China 'violations' in East Sea

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A Chinese ship blasts a Vietnamese vessel with a water cannon while guarding an oil rig illegally operating in Vietnamese waters. Photo credit: Reuters A Chinese ship blasts a Vietnamese vessel with a water cannon while guarding an oil rig illegally operating in Vietnamese waters. Photo credit: Reuters

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Vietnam on Friday called on other ASEAN member countries to speak with a common voice against China's latest move to station a giant oil rich well in Vietnamese waters at the grouping summit meeting in Myanmar.
Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh briefed ASEAN delegates at a meeting to prepare for the 24th ASEAN Summit, which will begin on May 11, about the current developments in the East Sea, internationally known as the South China Sea.
He said the acts seriously violated Vietnam’s sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982) as well as infringed international law and the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties on the East Sea (DOC).
Chinese ships deliberately rammed into and sprayed water cannons at Vietnamese ships, damaging some of them and inflicting injuries on crew members, Vinh said.
The situation is serious, harming peace, stability, security and marine safety in the region as well as trust-building efforts in the region, he said.
He said ASEAN needs to raise a common voice in the situation, stressing the demand for strict observance of international law and the 1982 UNCLOS, including the Convention’s provision on respecting the continental shelf and exclusive economic zone of coastal countries.
Other ASEAN countries expressed deep concern over the situation, which they said affected peace, security and marine safety in the region. They proposed that ASEAN take a united stance, asking all sides to abide by international law and the UNCLOS, strictly and fully implement the DOC. They stressed the urgent need to reach a Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea to better ensure peace, stability, security and maritime safety in the region.
China and four members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) including Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei all claim territory in the East Sea. China's claim is the largest, covering most of the sea's 648,000 square miles (1.7 million square km), a claim that has been emphatically rejected by international scholars.
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