Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has ordered relevant agencies to prepare documents for legal proceedings against China for illegally placing a drilling rig in Vietnam’s waters.
According to a press release issued during a routine meeting of the central government in Hanoi on July 1, the documents will be submitted to the country’s leaders for further consideration and approval.
China’s placement of the US$1-billion Haiyang 981 oil rig inside Vietnam’s continent shelf and exclusive economic zone seriously violated Vietnam’s sovereignty and international law, the release cites the Prime Minister as saying.
As such, PM Dung has instructed relevant agencies to continue peaceful measures to press for China's withdrawal from Vietnamese waters.
China dispatched the rig into the East Sea at the beginning of May guarded by a fleet of more than 100 ships, including military ones.
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, internationally known as the South China Sea.
China's claim is the largest, covering most of the sea's 648,000 square miles (1.7 million square km) and has been emphatically rejected by international scholars.
PM Dung said that Vietnam was not surprised by China’s action, which have significantly damaged bilateral relations.
According to Minister Nguyen Van Nen, Chairman of the Government Office, Vietnam set two targets during the meeting: maintaining peaceful sovereignty at sea and preventing riots like the ones that broke out in central and southern Vietnam on May 13-14.
PM Dung instructed relevant agencies to try their best to achieve its annual GDP growth target of 5.8 percent.
“No changes have been made to our management policy; no changes have been made to socio-economic growth targets,” he said.
Vietnam cooperates with economies all over the world based on market-driven principles that ensure mutual benefit and does not depend on any single economy" -- Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung
He stressed on the importance for Vietnam to have an independent economy.
“Vietnam cooperates with economies all over the world based on market-driven principles that ensure mutual benefit and does not depend on any single economy,” he said.
According to Nen, the government has implemented measures to protect Vietnam’s economy from an unhealthy dependence on China or any other country.
Nen said the government also considered possible situations like China limiting border trade and expelling Chinese contractors from Vietnam.
“So far, the government can affirm that these impacts are possible but will not be great and can be resolved,” he said.
Nen also rejected rumors that border trade had already been restricted between Vietnam and China.