No country has the right to arrogantly and callously ask Vietnam to stop exploring oil and gas fields in waters where Vietnam holds sovereignty and sovereign rights.
Military officers of the Vietnamese Navy's Second Regional Command wave to the officers and experts stationed on the DK1/15 economic, scientific and technological service rig, which is based in the Phuc Nguyen shoal (internationally known as Prince Consort Bank) in the southern continental shelf of Vietnam. VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Dat
The Tu Chinh reef (internationally known as Vanguard Bank) is located in Vietnam’s 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone and completely belongs to the country, defined in line with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS).
According to the 1982 UNCLOS’s Article 56, in their exclusive economic zones, states enjoy sovereign rights over the natural resources, whether living or non-living, of the waters overlying the seabed and of the seabed and its subsoil, and other activities like energy production from water, currents or winds.
Therefore, all activities by foreign countries in Vietnam’s waters must be conducted in line with regulations of the 1982 UNCLOS and Vietnamese law. Actions not allowed by Vietnam are violations of the country’s waters, international law and the 1982 UNCLOS.
Per international law and the 1982 UNCLOS, no country has the right to arrogantly and callously ask Vietnam to stop exploring oil and gas fields in waters where Vietnam holds sovereignty and sovereign rights.
Any accusation that Vietnam is “unilaterally” conducting oil and gas exploration in the country’s exclusive economic zone is completely unreasonable.
It's fair to ask if any such statement is aimed at turning the undisputed Vietnamese waters into a disputed area to impose a situation of “power belongs to powers” and an indication of the wish to exercise hegemony over the East Sea?
The Tu Chinh reef is located near the international navigation route and plays an important role in Vietnam's economic building and development, as well as the country’s maritime sovereignty protection.
Vietnam’s territorial land and waters would be in a normal condition without violations that ignore international law and complicate the situation.
As a country that experienced decades of war, Vietnam always attaches importance to peace, friendship and cooperation, and is ready to address with good will issues arising in international relations by political means.
It is Vietnam’s consistent policy to use peaceful measures in accordance with international law and the 1982 UNCLOS to struggle against any violation of the country’s sovereignty, sovereign right and jurisdiction in its waters as prescribed in the 1982 UNCLOS.
On that basis, Vietnam has been implementing peaceful measures to protect its legitimate rights and interests.
Given China’s geological survey vessel group Haiyang Dizhi 8 violating Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in the south of the East Sea, the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson earlier this week said Vietnam had contacted the Chinese side many times via different channels, handed over protest diplomatic notes and demanded China immediately withdraw all of its vessels from Vietnam’s waters and to respect Vietnam’s sovereign right and jurisdiction, for the sake of the relations between the two countries and for regional stability and peace.
The official also highlighted that Vietnam’s competent maritime forces had taken many suitable measures to exercise the country’s sovereignty and jurisdiction peacefully and legally to safeguard national waters.
Maintaining regional peace and order, and ensuring maritime security and safety in the East Sea, including the Tu Chinh reef, on the basis of international law, would benefit the common interests of countries in the region and the international community.
Therefore, Vietnam has been making efforts to fulfil the role of a responsible nation in the international community, and hopes other countries will seriously implement international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, to build a region of peace and stability, contributing to promoting peace and development in the world.