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.
According to the 1982 UNCLOS’s Article 56, in their exclusive economic zones, the littoral states are subject to enjoy sovereign rights over natural resources, whether living or non-living, and other activities like energy production from water, currents and winds.
Therefore, all activities of foreign countries in Vietnam’s waters must be conducted in line with relevant regulations of the 1982 UNCLOS and Vietnamese law. Those which are not allowed by Vietnam are all violations of the country’s waters and international law and the 1982 UNCLOS.
Pursuant to international law and the 1982 UNCLOS, no countries have the right to authoritatively ask Vietnam to stop exploring oil and gas fields in the waters belonging to her.
Any deliberate accusation that Vietnam is “unilaterally” conducting oil and gas exploration in the country’s exclusive economic zone is completely unreasonable. Is the statement aimed at turning the waters that completely belong to Vietnam into a disputed area so as to impose the behavior of “power belongs to powers” and monopolise 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 management and protection.
Vietnam’s territorial land and waters would be in the normal and stable condition if there are no violations that ignore international law and complicate the situation.
As a country that experienced years of wars, Vietnam always attaches importance to peace, friendship and cooperation, and is ready to address with good will the issues arising in international relations by political means.
It is Vietnam’s consistent policy to resolutely and persistently 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 concertedly implementing peaceful measures in order 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 said Vietnam has contacted the Chinese side for many times via different channels, handed over protest diplomatic notes and demanded China to 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.
At the same time, the official also highlighted that Vietnam’s competent maritime forces have continuously taken many suitable measures to exercise the country’s sovereignty, sovereign right and jurisdiction peacefully and legally in an effort 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 bring about common interests to countries in the region and the international community.
Therefore, Vietnam has been making efforts to fulfill the role of a responsible nation in the international community, and hopes that other countries will seriously implement international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, in order to build a region of peaceful and stability, contributing to promoting peace and development in the world. -VNA