Press release of MFA Viet Nam on June 26th 2014

Fri, 06/27/2014 - 14:58
Mr. Le Hai Binh Spokesperson of Ministry Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam

I. Announcement: On the issue relating to the illegal drilling of the Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig by China:


In recent days, while the Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig along with a large number of Chinese escort vessels and aircrafts maintained its illegal operations in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf of Viet Nam, China has conducted a series of activities which escalated tension and further complicated the situation in the East Sea.


1. In the afternoon of 17 June 2014, the Chinese Maritime Safety Administration issued the Announcement numbered 14047 on the relocation of the Nanhai 09 oil rig from 17038' N - 110012.3' E to 17014.1' N - 109031' E between June 18 and June 20, 2014. At 13:00 on 21 June 2014, the Vietnamese authorities sighted the Nanhai 09 oil rig at the announced location.


On 24 June 2014, the Chinese Maritime Safety Administration issued another Announcement numbered 14050 informing that the marine geophysical survey ship Haiyang Shiyou 719 will be operating in the East Sea from 23/6 to 20/8/2014.


The operating area of the Nanhai 09 oil rig and the Haiyang Shiyou 719 ship is off the Gulf of Tonkin in the waters not yet delimited by Viet Nam and China. According to international law and practices, no party concerned is entitled to conduct unilateral oil and gas exploration and extraction activities in the overlapping areas which are yet to be delimited. Noticeably, this activity took place right after the visit by Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi to Viet Nam, thus causing deep concerns to the Vietnamese and international public opinion. Viet Nam demands China refrain from further complicating the situation, create a favorable atmosphere for the negotiations between Viet Nam and China on the delimitation of the waters off the Gulf of Tonkin.


2. Besides, China has recently conducted a range of activities such as publishing the "Topographic map of China" and the vertical version of the "Map of the People's Republic of China", which show the "nine-dash-line" covering most of the East Sea;  incorporating the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos of Viet Nam in China’s new system of land-use right registration; starting the construction of a school and completing a public housing project in Phu Lam or Woody Island of the Hoang Sa archipelago of Viet Nam; continuing the illegal expansion, construction and changing the status quo on a number of land features in the Truong Sa archipelago of Vietnam which China occupied by force in March 1988.


We have repeatedly asserted Viet Nam’s position regarding the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes. Viet Nam resolutely expresses objection and demands China immediately end these wrongful activities, respect international law, strictly observe the DOC and refrain from taking similar actions in the future.


3. In a particularly serious manner, at 9:20 AM on 23 June 2014, the Vietnamese fisheries resources surveillance (FRS) ship numbered 951 while performing law enforcement duty at 15029'30''N - 111023'22''E within the EEZ and continental shelf of Viet Nam was encircled and rammed by Chinese ships, hence suffering severe damages. It is worth noting that the location where the Vietnamese FRS ship was rammed is as 11.5 nautical miles far from China's oil rig. This was an extremely dangerous action and a serious violation of the Vietnamese waters, threatening the life and safety of Vietnamese law enforcement ships and officials in the line of normal duty in the Vietnamese waters. More dangerously, the action as such impeded the freedom of navigation, maritime security and safety, violated the 1982 UNCLOS and ran counter to the DOC.


Viet Nam strongly condemns this dangerous action of China and demands China end activities in obstruction of Vietnamese civil ships and compensate for the damages done to the 951 FRS ship as well as other Vietnamese vessels.


II. Announcement:

1. Vice President of National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan to make a working visit to Argentina and Chile (30 June - 05 July 2014)

Within the framework of the project: “Strengthening the leadership capacity of women staff for international integration” sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Vice President of National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan will make a working visit to Argentina (from 30 June to 02 July  2014) and Chile (from 03 July to 05 July 2014).

The visit by National Assembly Vice President Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan is aimed to strengthen the multifaceted relations, particularly in the economic and financial domains, between Viet Nam and Argentina and Chile – the major economies and significant trade partners of Viet Nam in Latin America. It is also an opportunity to exchange experience and enhance cooperation on policy-making, implementation of gender equality, strengthening women’s leadership capacity, role and contribution to socio-economic development, promote trans-regional cooperation between the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) and the Pacific Alliance (AP) with ASEAN as well as exchange on some international and regional issues of common concern and interest.


2. ASEAN Special Senior Officials’ Meeting on ASEAN’s centrality and strategic orientations for the evolving regional architecture (27-28 June, 2014)

The ASEAN Special Senior Officials’ Meeting on ASEAN’s centrality and strategic orientations for the future regional architecture will take place in Ha Noi from 27 June to 28 June 2014.

The meeting will evaluate current developments leading to the profound changes in the regional geopolitical landscape as well as challenges to ASEAN’s centrality; elaborate the future regional architecture, the enhancement of ASEAN’s leading role and conduct so that ASEAN can better adapt to the rapidly evolving geopolitical landscape, particularly to strengthen ASEAN’s solidarity, common voice and shared responsibility in issues of strategic interest to the region.


In response to reporters’ question on Viet Nam’s position to the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s Peace Plan, Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Le Hai Binh stated:

“Viet Nam supports all efforts by the concerned parties in stabilizing the situation in the East of Ukraine, including the implementation of President Petro Poroshenko’s Peace Plan for the interest of the Ukrainian people as well as peace and development of the country and the region.

Viet Nam calls on the concerned parties to ensure security and safety for the Vietnamese community in the East of Ukraine.”


Representative of Coast Guard informing on-site developments in the area surrounding China’s Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig:


I. Regarding China's Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig

1. Escort forces

- Until 25/6/2014, the location of the oil rig was generally unchanged.

- China used between 109 and 125 vessels to protect Haiyang Shiyou oil righ 981, including 4-6 warships, 02 missile frigates numbered 534 and 572 operating at 20-25 nautical miles from the oil rig, 02 pairs of minesweepers vessels numbered 840, 843 or 839, 842 (rotating daily) at about 15-25 nautical miles from the rig, and 02 pairs of fast attack ships numbered 751, 756 or 753 and an unidentified ship (rotating daily).

- In addition, China used 33 to 43 law enforcement vessels, including coast guard, maritime patrol, and fishery law enforcement ships, 10-14 service and towing vessels, 20-22 transport ships and 33-40 fishing boats.

- China used many surveillance and reconnaissance aircrafts (B3586, J8, J11, J16, Y12, Y-8X) and a helicopter Z29 to hover over Vietnamese ships at 300-1,500m heights to scout, intimidate and irritate the Vietnamese ships.

2. Operation tactics

- The Chinese escort fleet was divided into 3 rings to protect the oil rig. In the innermost ring, ships constantly swap locations. In the outer ring, there were always 9 to 12 high-speed vessels and tugboats to closely follow Vietnamese coastguard and fisheries surveillance vessels at a distance of 200-300m, shouting speakers and horns, approaching to ram and firing water cannon at Vietnamese ships.

- Chinese escort ships outnumbered Vietnamese ships, were ready to cut off, rear-block and approach the side of Vietnamese vessels when the latters approached the HD-981 oil rig to voice protest. Chinese ships intentionally collided with Vietnamese vessels and fired high-power water cannon to damage Vietnamese ships and on-deck equipments. They also employed high frequency sonar system and high lumen lights to negatively affect the mental and physical health of Vietnamese crew members.

3. Vietnamese Coast Guard Forces on duty

Amid complicated weather conditions, Vietnamese vessels were persistently stationed at the site and continued to perform their law enforcement duties, hindering the illegal operation of Chinese oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 and the escort forces within the Vietnamese waters.

Even though Chinese escort vessels continued to obstruct, aggressively crash, ram and fire water cannon at the Vietnamese Coast Guard and Fishery Surveillance ships, the Vietnamese forces persevered to exercise restraints and tried to avoid collisions and other provocative actions from the Chinese forces. The Vietnamese Coast Guard ships did not fire water cannon nor ram the Chinese escort vessels; we only used speakers to communicate and demand China to withdraw its oil rig and escort vessels from the Vietnamese waters, Exclusive Economic Zone and continental shelf.

II. Regarding oil rig Nanhai 09

On 19/6/2014, the Vietnamese Coast Guard Command detected Chinese oil rig Nanhai 09 at 17:00 floating at 17o37’38’’ N - 110o12’16’’ E.

On 21/6/2014, oil rig Nanhai 09 remained at 17o15’00’’N -109o31’02’’E, about 60 nautical miles South-Southwest of Yulin (Hainan island), about 115 nautical miles East from the coastline of Da Nang, Viet Nam, and about 155 nautical miles Southeast of oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981. The escort vessels included 03 service ships KanTan 225, Nanhai 222 and tugboat De Jia.

The Vietnamese Coast Guard forces are following closely every move of oil rig Nanhai 09.


Representative of Fishery Surveillance Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Viet Nam informing Chinese vessels’ intentional obstruction, attack and damage of Vietnam fishery resource survellance ships in the area where China illegally installs oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 within the Vietnamese waters:

The Hoang Sa archipelago area of Viet Nam is the traditional fishing ground for generations of Vietnamese fishermen; therefore, Vietnamese fishing boats’ operation as well as their protection and support, and the law enforcement activities performed by the fisheries resource surveillance ships and coast guard ships of Viet Nam are completely normal and in line with Vietnamese law and international law.

Since China violated Viet Nam’s sovereignty by installing Oil Rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 within the Vietnamese waters, during their conduct of duty at sea, the fishery resource surveillance and coast guard forces of Viet Nam have always been confronted with China’s intentional obstruction, attack and intimidation in various forms in a very provocative, drastic and dangerous manner, including encircling, ramming, clashing at high speed, approach from a large angle, and firing high-power water cannon. Chinese forces also side-blocked and threw hard objects at the fishery surveillance ships of Viet Nam, used high-frequency sonar systems and high-lumen lights to negatively affect the mental and physical condition of Vietnamese fishery surveillance forces.

China’s actions as such have been well-prepared and organized to intentionally cause damages to the Vietnamese ships. China frequently uses 5 to 7 vessels/ groups of vessels to approach closely, block from the front, and stand ready to ram and push away the Vietnamese fisheries surveillance ships at about 10 nautical miles from oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981. To date, Chinese ships have rammed 27 Vietnamese fisheries surveillance ships more than 100 times (some ships were rammed several times per day), causing severe damages to the ships and injuring 15 crew members.

The recent major incidents:

On 17th June, when Vietnamese fishery surveillance ship KN-951 was performing law enforcement duties, supporting and protecting the fishermen in the area 14 nautical miles from oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981, Chinese vessels, including maritime patrol ship 22, tugboat 241 and coast guard ship 32, encircled, fired water cannon at and rammed the Vietnamese ship, destroying its right-side whaleboat, breaking the control board and the ship frame on the right side behind the steering wheel, crushing the right port and causing other damages.

On 18th June, when Vietnamese fishery surveillance ship KN-762 was conducting law enforcement activities in the area 11.5 nautical miles from oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981, Chinese tugboat 252 rammed the ship, causing a deformation that was 20cm long and 70cm deep into the central deck from the control station to the area behind the wheel, breaking the rear whaleboat on the right side, crushing 10cm deep into the left port, and breaking several windows and light bulbs.

Particularly on 23rd June, while performing law enforcement duty at sea, Vietnamese fishery surveillance ship KN-951 continued to be rammed by 04 Chinese vessels including Hui Lien 09, oil service tugboat Xinhai 284, 285 and maritime patrol vessel number 11. The Chinese vessels encircled the Vietnamese ship, causing severe damages. Such actions of the Chinese vessels were clearly provocative, dangerous, and intentionally organized to harm and destroy Vietnamese fishery surveillance ship number KN-951.

At 9:30, while Viet Nam’s Fishery Resource Surveillance ship 951 was on duty about 11.5 nautical miles South West from oil rig Haiyan Shiyou 981, it was surrounded and fired water cannon by China’s tugboat 284 and maritime patrol vessel number 11; and then was rammed at high speed by China’s tugboat Hui Lien 09. Tugboat Hui Lien 09 closely approached and  rammed Viet Nam’s surveillance ship 951 on the right side so that Ship 951 could not escape and China’s tugboat Xinhai 285 could continue to ram directly at the ship’s left port, which resulted in destruction of its balcony, dumping its left side 1 meter, causing a 2-meter-long and 30-cm-wide scratch on the ship, as well as damaging the first-aid and living cabins, one life boat and some other equipments on board.

In addition, China deployed around 40 steel-coated fishing boats in the area of the oil rig with the support of coast guard ship 46102 and 46106, which were not there to conduct fishing activities but to prevent, threaten and ram Viet Nam’s fishing boats as the Vietnamese boats were conducting normal and legal fishing activities in Viet Nam’s traditional fishing grounds, 40 to 50 nautical miles West and Southwest of the oil rig. Since May 1st 2014, while Viet Nam’s fishing boats were conducting normal fishing activities in its traditional fishing areas in the Hoang Sa archipelago of Viet Nam, they have been chased after and threatened hundreds of times by China’s vessels. Some 17 boats of Viet Nam have been damaged and dozens of Vietnamese fishermen have been wounded, 03 of them seriously injured, by China’s law enforcement and fishing vessels.

We have sufficient materials and evidence to testify to the fact that so far Vietnamese ships and fishing boats have never intentionally crashed or rammed Chinese vessels. All of the attacks and crashes have been triggered and conducted by China’s vessels. In other words, it was the Chinese vessels that intentionally rammed and damaged Viet Nam’s vessels. On the field, Viet Nam’s fishery resource surveillance ships continue to exercise restraints, avoid crashes, and remain patient, persistently seeking peaceful means to communicate and demand China to withdraw its oil rig and forces from the Vietnamese waters where they are illegally operating. We have continued to conduct maritime law enforcement activities to resolutely defend our sovereignty and fishing grounds and support our fishermen operating in the waters of Viet Nam.