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China Must Respect International Law and Remove HD-981 Oil Rig from Vietnam’s Waters

This petition had 17,663 supporters

In the past few years, China has escalated tensions in the Southeast Asia Sea (South China Sea) by introducing the infamous nine-dotted line which claims sovereignty over 80% of the Southeast Asia Sea and which has zero legal basis, ignoring all relevant international law, norms, and conventions. The Chinese activities pose a real threat to the territorial waters of the countries in the region as well as to maritime security and the freedom of navigation.

Disregarding  international law, China has intensified  provocations and harassment in Vietnamese territorial waters by i) invading the Paracel Islands in 1974; ii) invading Reef Island and some reefs in the Spratly Islands of Vietnam in 1988; iii) imposing a ban on fishing in the Spratly Islands’ waters in 2009; iv) attacking, destroying, capturing Vietnamese fishing boats, and demanding ransom; v) cutting cables of seismic vessels of Vietnam National Petroleum Corporation in Vietnam's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in 2011 and 2012; vi) inviting bidders to explore oil and gas in the continental shelf of Vietnam in 2012; vii) establishing an administration known as "Sansha City" which illegally governs the Paracels and the Spratly Islands of Vietnam in 2012.

Most recently, on May 5, 2014, China made a dangerous and brazen move in the Southeast Asia Sea by “deploying an oil rig for the first time on the Vietnam's EEZ, and on its continental shelf, about 120 nautical miles off its coast, where the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea guarantees Vietnam exclusive rights to hydrocarbon and mineral resources.” (The New York Times, “Trouble in South China Sea”, May 9, 2014). Moreover, China has deployed hundreds of vessels including coast guard ships, maritime police ships, armed fishing boats, and naval vessels (e.g., corvettes, missiles boats, landing ships) and surveillance and strike aircraft in the territorial waters and air zone of Vietnam. Chinese ships deliberately rammed and shot water cannons at Vietnamese maritime police and coast guard ships in Vietnam’s EEZ and continental shelf, damaging Vietnam’s law enforcement vessels and injuring crew members.

The Vietnamese people love peace, and we are exercising utmost restraint. We adhere to international law to resolutely protect our national sovereignty and legitimate interests. The provocative Chinese infringements and intimidation threaten peace and stability, security and freedom of navigation in the Southeast Asia Sea. Peace-loving people deserve to be informed of the threats by the aggressive Chinese government.

We call (i) for the Chinese government to de-escalate the tensions and remove HD-891 from Vietnam’s EEZ, (ii) for peace lovers all over the world to denounce the Chinese activities in the Southeast Asia Sea, (iii) for worldwide support to fight against the aggressive Chinese authorities.

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