Vietnam: PM calls for peace over China’s drilling rig dispute
Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has urged the Ministry of Public Security to ensure security of people and assets in the country, especially those of foreign investors, following this week’s riots in which several factories were set on fire.
The protests are being held in response to China’s deployment of a semi-submersible offshore drilling rig in what Vietnam claims are Vietnamese territorial waters. China, however, maintains it is operating in its own continental shelf.
Several foreign-owned factories were torched yesterday, and according to BBC, one person was killed, while around 150 were injured in a clash over a Taiwanese steel mill, located in Ha Tinh province.
In a statement on the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry’s website, the Prime Minister said while the Vietnamese have shown patriotism by opposing the deployment of a Chinese rig in Vietnamese waters, all illegal activities need to be halted, and those responsible adequately punished.
The Prime Minister also called the relevant agencies to ensure normal production and business activities in the country are restored.
“We in Vietnam always do our best to create favorable conditions and ensure absolute safety for people, businesses and foreign agencies in Vietnam in accordance with law and the international commitments of Vietnam,” the statement reads.
China blames Vietnam
In a telephone conversation with the Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi emphasized that, with regards to the situation in Vietnam, the Chinese company is carrying out normal drilling activities in China’s Xisha Islands and its adjoining zone which have already begun ten years ago.
“The violent disruptions and ramming by a large number of Vietnamese vessels are why the situation has become tense. What the Vietnamese has done has violated China’s sovereignty and jurisdiction, run counter to a series of international agreements safeguarding maritime security, and undermined peace and stability of the South China Sea,” Wang Yi said, according to the China Foreign Ministry’s website.
Wang Yi said that China’s position on safeguarding its legitimate sovereign rights and interests is firm, clear and will not change adding that China and Vietnam are having communication that is needed on the current situation.
“We urge the Vietnamese side to calm down, respect China’s sovereignty and jurisdiction and refrain from further complicating and aggravating the situation. China also hopes that ASEAN member countries can have a clear understanding of the basic facts of this incident, and together with China continue to safeguard peace and stability of the South China Sea,” reads the statement on the China Foreign Ministry’s website.
Since the deployment of the HYSY 981 rig in the disputed area of the South China Sea earlier this month, Vietnam has demanded that China withdraws the drilling rig as well as relevant vessels, equipment and personnel out of the area, and to refrain from any future rig deployments in the area.