The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has asked China not to bring a giant drilling rig back to a block in Vietnamese waters or dispatch any other rigs to the site or any other areas in Vietnamese waters.
MOFA spokesman Le Hai Binh made the statement on Wednesday (July 16) in reply to the news that China moved the rig that it illegally placed in Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone in early May one day earlier.
Binh said that since May 2, the Haiyang Shiyou-981 rig and a large number of escort ships, including military ships, have violated the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of Vietnam. The rig’s location was about 130 nautical miles from the coast of Vietnam.
Chinese ships encircled and intentionally rammed and fired high-pressure water canon at Vietnamese coast guard and fisheries surveillance vessels undertaking their maritime management missions in Vietnamese waters.
Chinese forces injured a number of Vietnamese fisheries administration officers, caused losses for Vietnamese law enforcement authorities at sea, and even sank a Vietnamese fishing boat, he said.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Le Hai Binh.
“Operations of the rig and escort ships over the past two months in the area are totally illegal, infringing regulations of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” the spokesman said.
“Vietnam wishes to reach an amicable settlement of disputes and disagreements in the East Sea on the basis of international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS,” Binh noted, demanding China respect Vietnam’s sovereign right and jurisdiction to its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.
The spokesman confirmed that Vietnam resolutely defends its sovereignty and sovereign right in conformity with international law.
According to the High Command of the Vietnam Coast Guard, China’s oil rig was moving north-northwest toward China’s Hainan Island at 9:03 pm on July 15.
The rig and the fleet of nearly 60 escort ships were moving at a speed of 4-4.2 nautical miles per hour.
At 6:20 am on July 16, it was 41 nautical miles from its previous position, about 163 nautical miles southwest of Hainan Island.
On July 15, the China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) announced that it had completed its drilling and exploration off Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago in the East Sea, and is relocating its rig in Hainan Islands.
The company started drilling two wells in early May and completed the work on May 27 and on July 15, respectively, China’s state-run news agency Xinhua quoted the company’s statement as saying.