Lawyers up in arms at Chinese bid invitation

The Vietnam Lawyers Association has released a statement opposing the invitation for bids for nine lots in the East Sea by the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).

The CNOOC recently invited international bids for nine lots which are situated deep within Vietnam’s continental shelf and overlap lots 128 to 132 and 145 to 156 where PetroVietnam has been operating for a long time.

“This is not a disputed area,” said the association, adding that it completely supports the statement released by the Foreign Ministry spokesperson on June 26.

The association also “strongly protests and requests that the Chinese side stop the wrongful invitation for bids and not take any further action to inflame the situation in the East Sea or inflate the dispute.”

This act taken by the CNOOC seriously violates the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Clauses 58, 76 and 77) to which China itself is a member. This also seriously violates Vietnam’s sovereign right and jurisdiction over the country’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

It is counter to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) signed between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2002, as well as the agreement on the fundamental principles that guide the settlement of disputes at sea signed by Vietnam and China in October, 2011.

The association demands that the Chinese side observe the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as well as all other related international laws and adhere to the commitments made in the DOC.

It calls on legal circles around the world to cry out for justice and asks multi-national oil and gas companies to respect Vietnam’s sovereign right and jurisdiction and not take part in the CNOOC’s invitation for bids.

The Vietnam Lawyers’ Association also says it supports the statement made by the Foreign Ministry spokesperson on June 21 and strongly condemns China’s decision to establish the so called Sansha city.

This seriously violates Vietnam’s indisputable sovereignty over the Truong Sa (Spratly) and Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelagoes.

In the statement, the association adds that it always wants to promote the traditional friendship and cooperation between the Vietnamese and Chinese people and both legal circles in particular.

At the same time, it is willing to do its utmost to protect justice, international laws, respect sovereignty independence and the territorial integrity of nations to maintain peace and security in the region and the world.

VNA/VOV online