Vietnamese General: Consistent to solve the East Sea issues peacefully


QĐND - Monday, June 06, 2011

PANO – With the recent developments in the East Sea, the Vietnamese delegation to the 10th Shangri-La Dialogue got much attention from international media. On the sidelines of the dialogue, Lieutenant-General Nguyen Chi Vinh, Vietnamese Deputy-Minister of National Defence, answered the questions from the media.

- Will Vietnam continue its oil exploration activities in the disputed sea areas? What measures will the Vietnam People’s Army take to protect these activities?


Lt. Gen.: Nguyen Chi Vinh: I confirm that Vietnam does not carry out these activities in the disputed sea areas. The exploration activities are within Vietnam’s sovereignty. For example, the case of Binh Minh 02 vessel, right after the incident took place, the vessel overcame the problems and continued its exploration activities. Vietnamese People’s Naval Forces is in charge of protecting the sky and sea of Vietnam. However, those tasks that relate to civilian responsibilities will be dealt by legal authorities.


- Does Vietnam plan to increase the presence of Naval forces in the recent tension areas?


Lt. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh: The increase of Vietnamese Naval forces takes place as a previously scheduled plan. However, we hold that the issue is not serious enough to deploy a surge of naval forces. We are consistent and believe in solving the issue peacefully, in which the voices of the international media and community are very important.


- Do you think that the ADMM-Plus members that do not have sovereignty disputes or direct relations to the East Sea issues can help reduce the tension and solve the East Sea issues?


Lt. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh: I think that multilateral forums are very important. They show the attitudes of the world to the behaviours of each country.


- I learnt that a group of Vietnamese origin in California, U.S.A, mobilises to change the name the East Sea, or the South China Sea, into Southeast Asia Sea. Is that a desire of the entire Vietnamese people?


Lt. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh: For the same sea, the Chinese calls it South China Sea, we call it the East Sea. It is just a name. For the proposal from a group of Vietnamese origin, I think that it stems from the patriotism, a big issue but not the desire of the entire of Vietnamese people. Vietnam has only one desire that is any sea that belongs to Vietnam by the international law, must be recognised as under Vietnam’s sovereignty.


- U.S Secretary of Defence, Robert Gates, declared to increase their presence in Asia. One of the steps to increase is to send more ships to Singaporean sea areas. Does Vietnam welcome this move?

Lt. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh: The U.S increases its presence in Asia or sends more vessels to Singapore is for its interests. If that presence brings about peace, stability and development in the region, bringing about equality and mutual respect among countries, Vietnam welcomes it.


- Vietnamese government recently declared to open Cam Ranh Port for the world. Does it mean that it will allow the U.S., Russian and other countries’ vessels to dock at the port?


Lt. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh: About the Cam Ranh Port, we declared not to let any country set its military base or station its military vessels there. A part of the Cam Ranh Bay will be for Vietnamese Naval Forces. Another part will be built into a service, technical and logistic area for civilian and military ships. Until that time, this area will receive vessels from all countries to be repaired and serviced in accordance to Vietnamese and international laws.


- The Declaration on Conduct of the Parties in the East Sea (DOC) in 2002 has been implemented for nine years. However, it has not yet got the consensus to make an instruction document to implement its articles. Meanwhile, we are trying to make DOC a Code of Conduct of the Parties in the East Sea (COC) to increase its legal foundation. Do you think that this move is practical in this time?


Lt. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh: ASEAN member states agreed that the COC is very necessary. The recent ASEAN Summit and ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting reached an agreement to discuss it with China and soon reach the COC.


Translated by Ngoc Hung