Vietnamese in France protest against Chinese oil rig in East Sea

By Vuong Duc Anh   March 15, 2016 | 09:01 pm PT
More than 300 Vietnamese in France held a demonstration on January 23 to protest China's increased "illegal" activities in the East Sea, VnExpress reports.

The protest took place in front of the Peace Wall, Joffre Square, Paris, with the participation of members from more than 30 Vietnamese associations and organizations in France.

The protesters held the national flag, huge banners and pictures showing what they consider China’s “illegal activities” in the East Sea. They expressed strong opposition to China’s deployment of the Hai Duong 981 oil platform on Jan 16 in the overlapping area between two continental shelves outside the Gulf of Tonkin.

The participants claimed that China's actions are illegal and contrary to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). They urged the international community to speak out against Beijing to ensure freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea and avoid potential military conflicts.

"I came here to express solidarity with the people of Vietnam. I hope this demonstration leads to a stronger response from the international community against Chinese expansionism,“ said protester Daniel Le Wis.

This is the fourth time since 1975 the Vietnamese community in France has staged a demonstration in Paris to protest China's actions in the East Sea.

Tensions between the two neighboring countries have escalated since the beginning of January after China conducted test flights at Fiery Cross Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands.

Vietnam had also previously demanded China not to conduct drilling and withdraw the oil platform from the area.

A representative of Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs met with Chinese Embassy officials in Hanoi on January 18 to express “concern” over China moving the oil rig into the disputed area.

Vietnam said its legal rights and interests are in line with international law, including UNCLOS and international practices.

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