Ambassador Nguyen Quoc Cuong interviewed on CNN's Amanpour

China is trying to turn an undisputed area into a disputed area, and that is unacceptable”, Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Nguyen Quoc Cuong told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on May 28.
The diplomat said China’s deployment of an oil rig and many escort ships in Vietnam’s waters is a serious violation of Vietnam sovereignty and sovereign rights.
It also infringes international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea agreed by Chinese leaders and ASEAN in 2002, he added.
“The Vietnamese people have no other way but to respond peacefully but resolutely”, Cuong stressed.
Refuting Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai’s statement that China only has one rig while Vietnam has 30 in the waters, Cuong said Vietnam has been doing oil and gas exploration and exploitation in its continental shelf and exclusive economic zone (EEZ) for decades. 
Many foreign companies have worked with the country in the field, and they won’t do that if the waters is a disputed area, he noted, adding that in 2012, China offered international bidding for some oil and gas lots in the continental shelf of Vietnam, but no foreign company accepted the offer.
Amanpour said China is flexing its muscle in territorial disputes with its smaller neighbors, from Japan to the Philippines to Vietnam. The attitude was summed up well by China’s then-foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, who in 2010 told his Singaporean counterpart that China is a big country and other countries are small countries.
In response, Ambassador Cuong said such an argument is unjustifiable, stressing that in foreign relations and international law, every country is on an equal footing.
He reiterated that Vietnam is following an independent foreign policy and wants good relations with China as well as with the US and other countries. But the country cannot accept coercion or threats. 
Cuong stressed that the Vietnamese people are very determined to defend their sovereignty, and no country should underestimate their determination. He said all Vietnamese, no matter where they live, in Vietnam, in the US or in other countries, believe that nothing is more precious than independence and freedom.