Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has said Vietnam will continue to cooperate with China without compromising its sovereignty and national interests.
“China is our neighbor. We [Vietnam and China] will continue to be neighbors, whatever the weather,” Dung told the National Assembly, Vietnam's legislature, during a televised question-and-answer session.
He was responding to Deputy Thich Thanh Quyet’s questions about the Party and State’s China policy following the withdrawal of a massive Chinese oil rig from Vietnamese waters in July.
“Therefore, we always look forward to Vietnam and China’s sincere cooperation to preserve peace, stability and development for the mutual benefit of both countries,” Dung said.
“We want our two countries to sincerely cooperate to resolve territorial conflicts in accordance with international law and the agreements that have been ratified by both our governments,” the PM said.
“We will maintain cooperation to ensure peace and mutual benefit with China and every other country" and Vietnam would not compromise its sacred national sovereignty and interests, Dung said.
Regarding Deputy Le Nam's question about Vietnam's response to China’s island-building campaign in the Spratly (Truong Sa) Archipelago, PM Dung recalled China’s 1988 invasion and ongoing occupation of Vietnam's Gac Ma (Johnson South) Reef.
Dung said that in spite of China's 2002 accession to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) with Vietnam and the rest of the Alliance of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), it has violated the agreement through its large-scale effort to build on contested portions of the Spratlys.
Under the DOC, all the parties must avoid complicating the situation in the East Sea, the Vietnamese term for the South China Sea.
But China has already begun turning Chu Thap (Fiery Cross) Reef into the largest island in the Spratlys by filling in an area of roughly 49 hectares (121 acres) with reclaimed sand, he said.
“We protest this act, as it violates the DOC to which China is a signatory,” the PM said.