Vietnam threatens legal action against China

PTI Manila | Updated on March 12, 2018

Vietnam’s Prime Minister today said that his country was considering legal action against China, which deployed an oil rig earlier this month to disputed waters, prompting anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam and a tense standoff between ships from both countries in the area.

In a written reply to questions sent by The Associated Press, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said Vietnam would fiercely defend its territory but would never resort to military action “unless we are forced to take self-defence actions’’.

“Like all countries, Vietnam is considering various defence options, including legal actions in accordance with the international law,” said Dung, who held talks with his Philippine counterpart in Manila that focused on their territorial rifts with China.

Territorial claims

Dung did not specify what legal action Hanoi was considering. Last year, the Philippines filed a complaint against China before an international tribunal in The Hague to challenge the legality of its sweeping territorial claims in the South China Sea.

China claims nearly all of the South China Sea as its own, bringing it into conflict with Vietnam, the Philippines and three other governments that have rival claims. Beijing also has a territorial dispute with Japan over a cluster of islands in the East China Sea.

When asked if his country would risk going to war in disputed waters, Dung said his country would never venture into that.

“Military solution? The answer is No,” Dung said in the email. “Vietnam has endured untold suffering and losses from past invasive wars ... We are never the first to use military means and would never unilaterally start a military confrontation unless we are forced to take self-defence actions.”

After discussing China’s increasingly assertive behaviour in disputed waters, Dung and Philippine President Benigno Aquino III read separate statements before journalists at the presidential palace in Manila today.

The “president and I shared deep concern over the current extremely dangerous situation caused by China’s many actions that violate international law,” Dung said.

Published on May 22, 2014

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