The Vietnam Lawyer's Association has announced its protest of China National Offshore Oil Corporation's solicitation of international firms to bid on nine offshore oil blocks on the continental shelf of Vietnam.
As reported, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) on June 23 announced its invitation for international bids to explore the blocks, which cover 160,000sq.km.
The association emphasises PetrolVietnam's statement that the blocks lay deep within Vietnam's continental shelf, overlapping blocks 128 to 132 and blocks 145 to 156 on which PetroVietnam and its partners have been conducting exploratory and exploitative activities for many years.
The association strongly supported Vietnam Foreign Ministry's spokesman on June 26th on the matter and asked China not to fan tensions in the East Sea.
The association strongly condemned and requested China to cease its wrongful invitation for bids and respect the international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea.
The association clearly stated that CNOOC's bidding invitation had violated the articles No 58, No76 and No77 of the 1982 UNCLOS, of which China itself was a member. The bidding invitation also violated Vietnam's sovereign rights, jurisdiction rights and legitimate national interest towards its continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.
The CNOOC move was also against the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DOC) in the East Sea signed between China and ASEAN members in 2002, as well as the agreement on basic principles to settle sea related issues between Vietnam and China signed in October of last year.
The association also urged international lawyers to do their part to protect the international laws and requested international oil companies not to participate in the bidding for these nine blocks in Vietnam's area.
In its announcement, the association protested the Chinese act of establishing of so-called Sansha City, which seriously violates Vietnam's undisputable sovereignty on the Truong Sa (Spratly) and Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelagos.
The association said it wanted to boost the traditional co-operation and relations between the two countries' people and lawyers and it would try its best to protect international laws, independence and sovereignty of all the countries as well as peace and security in the region and the world.