Vietnam will resolutely and persistently protect its sovereignty as well as legitimate rights and interests in the East Sea through peaceful measures, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Le Hai Binh said in a press briefing Thursday.
Binh was replying to reporters’ questions about whether Vietnam would take stronger measures, such as legal actions, to counter China’s aggression that escalated tensions in the East Sea.
“As a country directly involved in disputes in the East Sea, Vietnam’s consistent stance is supporting the settlement of all disputes by peaceful means, in conformity with international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea”, Binh added.
When asked to comment on China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC)’s recent inviting foreign companies to tender for oil and gas blocks in the East Sea, Binh said Vietnamese authorities are thoroughly looking into China’s tender invitation.
In areas on which the two countries are negotiating for demarcation, such as the overlapping waters off the Tonkin Gulf, neither of the sides are allowed to unilaterally conduct oil and gas exploration or exploitation activities, he said.
He reiterated Vietnam’s indisputable sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands when asked to comment about China’s sending of seven vessels to Hai Sam (Jackson) Atoll in the Spratlys in recent weeks.
He said all activities in the area without Vietnam’s consent were illegal.