China continues to harass Vietnamese ships—state media
HANOI — China on Tuesday sent more than 100 ships, including six military vessels, to protect its oil rig illegally stationed in Vietnam’s waters, state media Viet Nam News reported Wednesday.
The Vietnam Fisheries Resources Surveillance Department said the Chinese vessels continued to aggressively harass Vietnamese ships.
For nearly an hour and a half in the early afternoon, Chinese reconnaissance aircraft CMS-B3586 flew about 500 to 700 meters above the sea 12 nautical miles from the rig Haiyang Shiyou-981.
Vietnamese fisheries surveillance vessels continued their duties between nine and 11 nautical miles from the rig. At the same time, they communicated with the Chinese, asking them to withdraw the rig and escort their ships out of Vietnam’s waters.
Chinese coastguard vessels and tugboats travelled in rows at high speed in an attempt to ram and fire water cannons at Vietnamese ships, which refused to budge.
Meanwhile, about 30 Chinese fishing ships, escorted by two coastguard vessels coded 46102 and 46106, operated at a distance of 20-50 meters from Vietnamese fishing boats.
Supported by fisheries surveillance ships, the Vietnamese fishermen continued their normal activities 40-45 nautical miles west-southwest of the rig.
The Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday sent a diplomatic note to the Vietnamese Embassy in Vientiane, voicing concern about the East Sea situation.
The Lao ministry said the East Sea was an important and sensitive area and was of paramount importance in maintaining and promoting peace, stability and cooperation.
It said Laos was worried about developments, calling for both sides to restrain from actions that could escalate tension.
The note asked both sides to solve the dispute peacefully in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
It said the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea must be implemented and that consultations on a Code of Conduct of Parties in the East Sea should be stepped up.
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