Political News Headlines 31/5
Vietnam treasures partnership with RoK
Vietnam wants to work closely together with the Republic of Korea to bring bilateral relations to new heights, Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh told Deputy Foreign Minister Cho Tae Yong.
Receiving the RoK diplomat in Hanoi on May 29, Minh noted that Vietnam-RoK relations have developed strongly after both countries established the strategic partnership in 2009.
He said they both continue maintaining high-level exchange visits to promote political trust and mutual understanding.
Vietnam will continue creating the best possible conditions for RoK businesses to do long-term and efficient business in the country, he assured his guest.
Minh proposed that Vietnam and the RoK conclude free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations this year, and that the RoK further open its market for Vietnamese products, especially farm produce, fresh fruits and vegetables, to raise two-way trade to a new level.
He also asked the two countries’ labour ministries to consider signing a memorandum of understanding on an employment permit system (EPS), resuming receiving Vietnamese guest workers.
For his part, Cho said the RoK business community in Vietnam appreciated the government’s rapid response to recent social disturbances in Binh Duong and Ha Tinh provinces.
More than 3,500 RoK businesses operating in Vietnam are keen on the Vietnamese market and confident in the government’s capacity of maintaining a stable and favourable business environment for foreign investors, including those from the RoK, he said.
He voiced the RoK’s concern about recent tensions in the East Sea and called upon parties concerned to settle disputes peacefully in accordance with international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).
Deputy PM Minh reiterated Vietnam’s consistent policy of supporting peace, stability and denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula.
China’s aggression in East Sea criticised in Cuba, Spain
China’s illegal dispatch of its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou – 981 in Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone has come under fire worldwide again, with Vietnamese in Cuba and Spain recently raising their voice of protest.
Taking centre stage at a meeting on May 29, Chairman of the Vietnamese Association in Cuba, Mai Thao, condemned China’s move as a serious violation of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), its Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea with ASEAN, in defiance of the basic principles guiding the settlement of sea issues between the two nations.
China must stop harrassing and ramming into Vietnamese law enforcement ships, then pull its rig and vessels out of Vietnam’s waters without delay, he said, adding that the Vietnamese government’s sound response to the incident has won plaudits from compatriots in Cuba.
On behalf of Vietnamese students in Cuba, student Le Anh Thu asserted that Vietnam is a peace-loving nation that will always stand ready to befriend countries all over the world, yet will fight unyieldingly for its irreplaceable peace and sovereignty.
On the occasion, they launched a fundraising drive in support of the Vietnamese coast guard and fishermen at home, who have borne the full brunt of the ongoing dispute, physically and mentally.
At the Vietnamese embassy earlier, Ambassador Duong Minh disclosed historical evidence and the legal basis proving that Vietnam has peacefully exercised its sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos in the East Sea since at least the 17 th century.
It is therefore impossible to declare that China’s occupation of Hoang Sa in 1974 and several Truong Sa islets in 1988 by armed force is a ground to claim sovereignty over it.
Meanwhile in Spain, nearly 50 Vietnamese students and residents gathered at Cataluna square at the heart of Barcelona, in opposition to China’s violation of sovereignty, sovereign right and jurisdiction of Vietnam.
They put their signatures on a letter sent to the Chinese embassy in Madrid and Chinese Consulate General in Barcelona, in which they asked China to end its illegal presence in Vietnam’s waters and respect international law, especially the UNCLOS.
At the beginning of May, China illegally dispatched the rig, as well as a large fleet of armed vessels, military ships and aircraft, to Vietnam’s waters and positioned the rig at 15 degrees 29 minutes 58 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 12 minutes 06 seconds east longitude. The location is 80 miles deep inside Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.
On May 27, China moved the rig to 15 degrees 33 minutes 22 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 34 minutes 36 seconds east longitude. The new location is 25 nautical miles from Tri Ton Island in Vietnam’s Hoang Sa archipelago and 23 nautical miles east-northeast from the old location, still completely within Vietnam’s continental shelf. With the move, China has kept on violating Vietnam’s sovereign right and jurisdiction.
Vietnam has exercised the utmost restraint, shown every gesture of goodwill and exhausted all dialogue channels to communicate with Chinese authorities of different levels in order to express protest and demand China immediately withdraw its rig and armed and military vessels from Vietnam’s waters.
Nevertheless, up to now, China has failed to respond to Vietnam’s legitimate demand. On the contrary, it has been slandering and blaming Vietnam while continuing to escalate the use of force and acts of violation in an increasingly dangerous and serious manner.
China’s armed vessels have aggressively fired high-power water cannons at and intentionally rammed against Vietnamese public-service and civil ships, causing damage to many boats and injuring many people on board.
Chinese ships have continuously encircled, constrained and driven away Vietnamese fishing boats and even injured Vietnamese fishermen, threatening their lives.
On May 26, Chinese ship 11209 sank a Vietnamese fishing vessel which was operating normally in its traditional fishing ground near Hoang Sa archipelago.
NA passes law building programmes
The National Assembly (NA) on May 30 passed a resolution on amendments to the law and ordinance building programme for the legislature’s 13th tenure and the law and ordinance building programme for 2015.
Earlier on the day’s morning session, the NA listened to proposals and verification reports on draft revisions to the Law on the NA Organisation.
Later, the deputies gave their opinions on contentious matters in the draft revisions to the Law on Customs and the Law on Environmental Protection.
The NA is scheduled to resume working on June 2 to debate the supplementary assessment of the implementation of the 2013 socio-economic development plan and state budget; plans to ensure budget balance in 2013 an the implementation of the 2014 socio-economic plan in the first months of this year.
The debate will be broadcast live on national television and radio channels.
Waste materials imports restricted
National Assembly deputies proposed stricter regulations for waste materials imports while discussing the revised Environment Law at the ongoing seventh session of the 13th NA yesterday.
Waste materials imported into the country must meet environmental protection regulations and be included on the list of waste materials allowed for import by the Prime Minister.
Deputies said it was also necessary to ban the trade of waste materials imported into Viet Nam.
Some deputies said the import of used ships to break them into pieces should be allowed, saying it could bring economic benefits and create jobs for local people.
However, others said this would have a serious environmental impact and that allowing such practices would turn the country into a waste dump for the rest of the world.
Deputies Nguyen Minh Lam from the southern province of Dong Nai and Dang Dinh Luyen from the southern province of Khanh Hoa said the draft law should not allow the import of used ships for such a purpose, as used ships were still equipped with old equipment and machines that could contain toxic chemicals and waste.
Therefore, the process of breaking up the ships could damage the environment and pose health risks to workers and local people, they said.
Many deputies proposed the revised law clarify the responsibilities of individuals and organisations for addressing environmental pollution, particularly the minister of natural resources and environment, heads of relevant agencies and chairmen of People's Committees at all levels.
Most National Assembly deputies also proposed creating a legal framework for climate change adaptation.
They said the State had many programmes on climate change adaptation, but there was a lack of regulations to implement them.
On the same day, the deputies discussed draft amendments to the law on the organisation of the National Assembly. They agreed that after 12 years of implementation, the law needed to be revised so it would be more applicable to real life and make NA operations more efficient..
They also discussed the draft revision of the Customs Law, which focuses on modernising customs operations to create better conditions for import and export activities.
Deputy Truong Van Vo from the southern province of Dong Nai said specific regulations on training would help improve the professional skills of customs officers.
Deputy Ya Duck from the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong said there should also be regulations to prevent customs officers from committing violations.
Some deputies proposed allowing customs officers to work with relevant agencies to prevent smuggling and trade fraud in import and export activities.
Deepening Australia- ASEAN partnership
Australia and ASEAN have established a partnership on a number of fronts over the past 40 years, said Australian Chargé d’Affaires Nadia Krivetz.
At a seminar promoting Australia-ASEAN ties in Hanoi on May 30, Krivetz said there is ample opportunity for Australia to deepen its existing cooperation with ASEAN countries in a vast array of fields including security, education, development and natural disaster relief.
ASEAN is now one of Australia’s largest trade partners with the two-way trade turnover increasing two-fold over the past decade from AUD45 billion to AUD92 billion.
The 40th anniversary of relations is a significant milestone and an important crossroads for Australia and ASEAN to strike out on a new strategic direction for the future.
Australia is specifically desirous of expanding and ever-widening cooperative relations with ASEAN in the future in politics, security, economics and people-to-people exchange, Krivetz stressed.
For his part, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Quang Vinh agreed that Australia-ASEAN relations over the past 40 years have evolved positively adding they have coherently and effectively supported peace, stability and development in the region.
He briefed the seminar on ASEAN’s 2015 goal of establishing a united, resilient community based on the three key pillars: -Security Community, Economic Community and Socio-Cultural Community, and said ASEAN will continue to strengthen ties with Australia.
He took the occasion to call on countries to support Vietnam’s approach to resolving the disputes in the East Sea by peaceful solutions in accordance with international law.
Australian Chargé d’Affaires Nadia Krivetz echoed Vinh’s call for a peaceful resolution to the East Sea territorial dispute, saying parties concerned need to exercise restraint and seek an appropriate solution.
Australia encourages China and ASEAN to soon reach progress in building a Code of Conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the East Sea, she said.
On the occasion, representatives of Australia and ASEAN member countries also discussed many issues related to regional security, challenges in building ASEAN institutions and ASEAN-Australia relations.
President sends condolences to Malaysia
Upon the news of the former Malaysian Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah's passing on May 28, Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang sent a letter of condolences yesterday to Malaysian Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah.
Mexican parties call for peaceful end to East Sea row
The Labour Party of Mexico (PT) has expressed support to Vietnam’s stance on using peaceful measures to deal with China’s illegal installation of oil rig Haiyang Shiyou – 981 in Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.
Together with the Mexico – Vietnam Friendship Parliamentarians’ Group, PT also reiterated its friendship and comprehensive cooperation with Vietnam.
Both sides shared the common stance that the Vietnamese people know better than anyone the value of peace, and deserve to live and prosper in a peaceful environment.
Meanwhile, the Mexican Party of Democratic Revolution (PRD) has urged the Vietnamese and Chinese governments to address the dispute via political negotiations in line with international law.
The appeal is part of the party’s statement on the East Sea issue that PRD Secretary of External Relations and Immigration Julio Cesar Tinoco Oros handed over to the Vietnamese embassy on May 29, in which it expressed hope that the United Nations will act as a voice of moderation and mediation, while an international tribunal acts as a final judge.
It also expressed hope that Mexico would play a more active role in sustaining world peace in the future.
At the beginning of May 2014, China illegally dispatched the rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 as well as a large fleet of armed vessels, military ships and aircraft to Vietnam’s waters and positioned the rig at 15 degrees 29 minutes 58 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 12 minutes 06 seconds east longitude. The location is 80 miles deep into Vietnam ’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.
China’s armed vessels aggressively fired high-power water cannons at and intentionally rammed against Vietnamese public-service and civil ships, causing damage to many boats and injuring many people on board.
On May 26, Chinese ship 11209 sank a Vietnamese fishing vessel while it was operating normally in its traditional fishing ground near Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago.
On May 27, China moved the rig to 15 degrees 33 minutes 22 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 34 minutes 36 seconds east longitude. The new location is 25 nautical miles from Tri Ton Island in Vietnam’s Hoang Sa archipelago and 23 nautical miles east-northeast from the old location, still completely within Vietnam ’s continental shelf. With the move, China has kept on violating Vietnam ’s sovereign right and jurisdiction.
Get together marks 45 years since Chilean leader’s visit
The Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations and the Vietnam-Chile Friendship and Cooperation Association held a get together in Hanoi on May 30, marking the 45th anniversary of a Vietnam visit by Chilean Chair of Senate Salvador Allende.
Allende, who later became the President of Chile, paid the visit in May 1969 amid Vietnam’s fierce war against the US. He was also the last foreign politician to meet with Vietnam’s President Ho Chi Minh before the latter passed away the same year.
The celebratory event was attended by representatives from the Party’s Commission for Foreign Relations, the Foreign Ministry, the National Assembly’s Committee for Foreign Affairs and ambassadors of Latin American countries in Vietnam.
In a video clip displayed at the event, incumbent Chilean Chair of Senate Isabel Allende, who is the daughter of Salvador Allende, underlined the importance of the visit 45 years ago, adding that her father raised his voice to protect the right of self-determination for countries around the globe.
Chilean Ambassador Fernando Urrutia said the visit by Allende also demonstrated the solidarity of the Chilean people with their Vietnamese friends.
He also voiced his belief that their bilateral ties, which were established in 1971, will continue flourishing in the future.VNN/VNS/VNA/VOV