Last update 6/1/2011 6:43:19 PM (GMT+7)

China slanders Vietnam of “creating new incidents”

VietNamNet Bridge – On the afternoon of May 31, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu made new statements about the case where three Chinese patrol boats snipped cables of Vietnam’s oil exploration ship named Binh Minh 02.

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu

In a regular news briefing on May 31, Jiang Yu said that Vietnam needs to “refrain from creating new incidents” in the East Sea.

The statement was made after Vietnam staunchly opposed the recent actions of Chinese marine surveillance vessels, in cutting the exploration cables of the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group’s ship-- Binh Minh 02, which was conducting seismic surveys at Lot 148, within Vietnam’s continental shelf.

China's Foreign Ministry continued to defend the actions of the Chinese boats. According to Reuters, in the regular press briefing on May 31, Jiang Yu still confirmed: “The enforcement activities that China's maritime ships undertook with the illegally operated Vietnamese ships are completely justified."

She even said: "We urge the Vietnamese side to immediately stop their activities from infringing on our sovereignty and refrain from creating new incidents".

On May 27, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ officials confirmed that while the Binh Minh 02 ship was conducting a seismic survey at Lot 148, within the country’s 200 nautical mile continental shelf on May 26, 2011, Chinese boats 12, 17 and 84 cut the Binh Minh 02 ship’s exploration cables at a location 12 degrees 48’25” north latitude and 111 degrees 26’48” east longitude, 120 nautical miles from the Dai Lanh cape, in the central province of Phu Yen, Vietnam.

Do Van Hau, deputy general director of PetroVietnam, the state-owned company that manages Binh Minh 02, said that in implementing the group's oil and gas exploration and exploitation program for 2011, the PetroVietnam Technical Service Corporation (PTSC), an affiliate of PetroVietnam, dispatched the seismic survey ship Binh Minh 02, to conduct seismic surveys at Lots 125, 126, 148 and 149, which lie within the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of Vietnam.

Binh Minh 02 had conducted two previous surveys in those areas, the first in 2010 and the second on March 17, 2011.

The surveys had been conducted smoothly and that the Binh Minh 02 had performed its tasks competently. At 5:05am on May 26, the Binh Minh 02 picked up a strange vessel moving towards the survey area on its radar. Five minutes later, it detected the approach of another two ships. The three ships were subsequently identified as Chinese marine surveillance vessels that had moved into the survey area without warning. At 5:58am, the Chinese ships crossed through the survey area, only 120 nautical miles from the Dai Lanh cape in the central province of Phu Yen, an area well inside Vietnamese territorial waters, cutting the Binh Minh 02's exploration cables.

The three Chinese vessels hindered the operations of the Binh Minh 02, and threatened it by saying that the Binh Minh 02 was violating Chinese sovereignty. The Binh Minh 02 determinedly rejected the Chinese threats, responding that it was operating inside Vietnamese territorial waters. The Chinese vessels kept up impeding the Binh Minh 02 until leaving the survey area at 9:00am on May 26. The Binh Minh 02 had to cease operations on May 26, in order to gather damaged equipment for repair. Under instructions from PetroVietnam and PTSC, the Binh Minh 02 repaired its equipment on the spot and resumed its operations by 6:00am of May 27.

Hau emphasized that the sea water where PetroVietnam’s ship was operating is deep inside Vietnam’s continental shelf. PetroVietnam has conducted seismic surveys in the area numerous times, and Binh Minh ship 02 was operating within the sea waters under Vietnam’s sovereignty is quite normal, said the PetroVietnam senior official. Hau said the Chinese ships’ cutting Vietnamese ship’s cables is a deliberate and well-prepared action.

“The area where the incident occurred lies entirely inside Vietnam’s continental shelf. This is the first time Chinese surveillance ships entered Vietnam’s continental shelf, regardless of warnings”, Hau said.

Chinais intentionally misleading public opinion

At a press conference on May 29, the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman, Nguyen Phuong Nga confirmed: “ This action seriously violated Vietnam’s sovereignty and jurisdiction rights over its continental shelf and exclusive economic zone, breaking the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and going against the spirit and words in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), signed between ASEAN and China in 2002, as well as the common perception of the high-ranking leaders of Vietnam and China”.

Nga also rejected the Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson’s remarks on May 28, that the Vietnamese side’s oil and gas exploration activities in the waters managed by China damaged the country’s interests and management right in “South China Sea”, going against the two countries’ common perception on the “South China Sea” issue, and that the action taken by the Chinese governing body is merely a marine supervision and law execution in the China-managed waters.

She explained that the area where Vietnam conducted explorations is entirely within the 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of Vietnam as stipulated by the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

In its articles about the Binh Minh 02 ship case, Reuters wrote that this incident happened about 120 km (80 miles) off the south-central coast of Vietnam and some 600 km (370 miles) south of China's Hainan island.

According to the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry’s spokerperson, Nguyen Phuong Nga, this is neither a disputed area nor an area “managed by China”. China is intentionally misleading the public opinion into thinking it is a disputed area, she said.

The spokesperson also pointed out that while China calls for solving relevant disputes through peaceful measures; its own action is making the situation in the East Sea more complicated.

Thai An