MANILA, Philippines – Vietnam is considering “legal actions” against China after the rising superpower deployed an oil rig in the disputed South China Sea, Reuters reported Thursday, May 22.
In an e-mail sent exclusively to Reuters, Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said, “Vietnam is considering various defense options, including legal actions in accordance with international law.”
While he didn't provide details, the Vietnamese leader added, “I wish to underscore that Vietnam will resolutely defend its sovereignty and legitimate interests because territorial sovereignty, including sovereignty of its maritime zones and islands, is sacred."
The report came after Dung issued a joint statement along with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III to show “deep concern” over China's moves, following their bilateral meeting in Malacañang on Wednesday, May 21.
Dung is on a working visit to the Philippines primarily for the World Economic Forum in East Asia (WEF-EA).
“With regard to the situation in the East Sea (South China Sea), the President and I shared the deep concerns over the current extremely dangerous situation caused by China’s many actions that violate the international law, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and seriously infringe on the waters across our countries,” Dung said in a speech at the Philippine presidential palace Wednesday night.
Vietnam backs Philippine case
The Vietnamese leader, in particular, denounced China's move to deploy an oil rig and vessels near the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. He said “the two sides are determined to oppose China's violations.”
Dung also said the international community should “continue strongly condemning China… to strictly observe the international law.”
The Philippines has said it wants Vietnam, along with Malaysia, to join its historic case against China over the disputed waters, parts of which it calls the West Philippine Sea. (READ: Will Vietnam follow PH and file case vs China?)
Philippine Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza said on February 27 that Vietnam and Malaysia “can either join us or they can file another case, which can theoretically be consolidated.”