Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nguyen Phuong Nga answers question from the media at the Press Conference on June 9th 2011 concerning the Viking II incident
In response to question from the media concerning a report that on June 9, a number of Chinese fishing vessels with support of Chinese fishery administration ships hindered operation of Viking II, a seismic vessel chartered by Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietNam), while the Viking II was conducting seismic exploration in Block 136/03, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nguyen Phuong Nga said:
At 6 a.m. June 9, 2011, the Viking II, a vessel hired by Viet Nam National Oil and Gas Group, was conducting 3D seismic exploration in Block 136/03 (coordination: 6 degrees 47.5’ North and 109 degrees 17.5’ East) within the continental shelf of Viet Nam when Chinese fishing vessel No 62226, supported by two Chinese Yuzheng fishery administration vessels No 311 and No 303, cut off Viking II, then veered with acceleration. Despite warning flares from the Vietnamese side, vessel 62226 headed on and rammed exploration cables of the Viking II. Its specialized cable slashing device was consequently trapped in the Viking II’s cables, jamming Viking II operation. As soon as that happened, Chinese Yuzheng 311 and 303, together with several Chinese fishing vessels, rushed to rescue Vessel 62226.
The location where Viking II was operating lies within Viet Nam’s 200-nautical mile-continental shelf to which Viet Nam has sovereign rights in accordance with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The action by the Chinese fishing and fishery administration vessels was totally intentional, thoroughly deliberated and planned and seriously infringes upon Viet Nam’s sovereign and jurisdiction rights, violates the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), goes against the common perception of senior leaders of the two countries on maintaining peace and stability in the East Sea and inflicts heavy economic damages on Viet Nam National Oil and Gas Group.
Notably, this incident came shortly after a Chinese marine surveillance vessel on May 26 cut exploration cables of Viet Nam’s Binh Minh 02 vessel in Block 148 within Viet Nam’s continental shelf, stressing the already tensed situation in the East Sea. These systematic acts by the Chinese side aim at disputing an undisputed area with a goal to materialize its “the nine dotted line” claim, a goal unacceptable to Viet Nam.
Viet Nam vehemently opposes the above-mentioned action by the Chinese side and asks China, from the strategic vision of the China – Viet Nam relationship, to immediately end and refrain from recurrence of actions that violate Viet Nam’s sovereign and jurisdiction rights to its continental shelf and exclusive economic zone, and to compensate for damages incurred by Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group.
On June 9 afternoon, a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam made representation with the Embassy of China in Ha Noi to lodge Viet Nam’s protest against and reiterate its position on China’s action.
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