Vietnam slams China invitation for oil, gas bids in Vietnamese waters

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Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokesman Luong Thanh Nghi has condemned a Chinese state company for inviting international bids for nine oil and gas blocks located in Vietnam's sovereign territory.

At a regular press briefing Tuesday he said the invitation for bids by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation on June 23 was illegal and "seriously" violated Vietnam's sovereignty, jurisdiction, and national interests.

The blocks were located in Vietnam's exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the 200-mile maritime area extending out from the country's coastline, and continental shelf under the 1982 United Nations Convention on The Law of The Sea (UNCLOS), he said.

They were in an area that was completely undisputed, he emphasized.

Such an act also violated UNCLOS to which China was a signatory, and complicated and intensified the East Sea issue, he warned.

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"Vietnam strongly opposes it, and demands that China should immediately stop the wrongful invitation for bids, and refrain from any acts that complicate the East Sea issues and expand disputes."

China also needed to strictly follow the ground rules on resolving sea issues agreed to by the two countries last year as well as international laws, especially UNCLOS and the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, he stressed.

On June 21 the National Assembly passed the Law on Sea of Vietnam, which has identified the country's basic maritime boundaries, territory, border areas, EEZs, as well as its ownership of the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) islands.

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