PM Nguyen Tan Dung in Manila: Vietnam to defend sovereignty

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has underscored that Vietnam will resolutely defend its sovereignty and legitimate interests because territorial sovereignty, including over its maritime zones and islands, is sacred. 
The PM made the affirmation in his response to questions from the Associated Press of the US and Reuters of the UK on current developments in the East Sea, and Vietnam’s measures following China’s illegal deployment of an oil rig in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone. 
Dung is currently in Manila for the World Economic Forum on East Asia 2014 and for a visit to leaders of the Philippines. 
When asked whether Vietnam would file a petition against China under the mechanisms of international law or solve the tensions by military means, PM Dung stated “Vietnam has endured untold suffering and losses from past invasive wars. We always desire peace and friendship to build and develop the country. We are never the first to use military means and would never unilaterally start a military confrontation unless we are forced to take self-defending actions.” 
Vietnam consistently uses peaceful solutions and has sought every opportunity and dialogue channel to settle the situation in a peaceful manner, he noted. 
“We have always showed a heartfelt attitude and goodwill and exercised our utmost restraint, but the response is China’s increasingly threatening and violating actions and its continued slander and blame of Vietnam,” PM Dung said. 
“There is a vast gap between the words and deeds of China,” he said, adding China’s acts in Vietnam’s waters during the past days were extremely dangerous and seriously threatened peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation, cooperation and development in the region and the world at large. 
“We are thirsty for peace and friendship, but it must be based on ensuring independence, self-reliance, sovereignty and territorial integrity. We never barter these sacred things for an unrealisable and dependent peace and friendship,” he declared. 
Like all countries, Vietnam is considering various defence options, including legal action, in accordance with international law, he said. 
Responding to a question on the possibility of Vietnam joining forces with an ally to deal with this situation, PM Dung said Vietnam will not join any military alliance against another country. This is the country’s consistent foreign policy, which has been affirmed to the world many times. 
He said that Vietnam has provided correct information on China’s illegal installation of its Haiyang Shiyou-981 oil rig in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf for international organisations, governments, foreign politicians, scholars and the world media. 
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, leaders of many countries, individuals and organisations around the globe have expressed deep concerns about the threat of China’s actions to peace, security and stability in the region. 
“I believe that the international community will continue making correct assessments and contributing appropriate voices to prevent this serious threat,” he said, adding that Vietnam calls on the international community, countries, individuals and organisations to continue its strong oppositions to China’s violation of international law. 
Regarding relations between Vietnam and China following the latter’s illegal act, the PM stressed that Vietnam is deeply aware of the friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries, as it not only brings basic and long-term interests to both but also contributes to peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world. 
He reiterated that Vietnam attaches special importance to and always tries its best to preserve and strengthen the fine friendship and cooperation with China. The country always wishes, together with China, to solve disputes by peaceful means on the basic of international law, equality and mutual respect. 
“Vietnam strongly opposes China’s illegal rig placement in Vietnamese waters and firmly protects its national sovereignty and legitimate interests in accordance with international law,” he declared.-VNA