Exclusive: Vietnam PM says considering legal action against China over disputed waters

MANILA Wed May 21, 2014 7:12pm EDT

Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, September 27, 2013. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, September 27, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Eduardo Munoz

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MANILA (Reuters) - Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said his government was considering various "defense options" against China, including legal action, following the deployment of a Chinese oil rig to disputed waters in the South China Sea.

Dung's comments, given in a written response to questions from Reuters, are the first time he has suggested Vietnam would take legal measures, a threat likely to infuriate Beijing.

"Vietnam is considering various defense options, including legal actions in accordance with international law," Dung said in an email sent while on a visit to Manila late on Wednesday. He did not elaborate on the other options being considered.

In late March, the Philippines submitted a case to an arbitration tribunal in The Hague, challenging China's claims to the South China Sea. It was the first time Beijing had been subjected to international legal scrutiny over the waters.

(Reporting by Rosemare Francisco; Writing by Dean Yates; Editing by Mark Bendeich)

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Comments (3)
onlyif wrote:
I wonder if china will be as forceful as Russia was in the Crimea.

May 21, 2014 7:03pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Whatsgoingon wrote:
Legal actions? Many companies are preparing suits for property damages. Most of them are NOT from China. Quite a few deaths are still being investigated…I guess it’ll be a hard sell blaming all these on the Chinese rig.

May 21, 2014 8:58pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
freeokinawa wrote:
Why takes so long? Of course Vietnam don’t have a water tight case against China or she would have done it years ago. The whole Spratlys and Paracels have to be before UNCLOS and if Vietnam cherry pick, she will be seen as dishonest and her case thrown out of court as I suspect Philippines 4000 memorial suit against China will expose Philippine as a dishonest plaintiff, filing a case in an Extra Judicial manner, beyond her own areas of interest. That is why Philippine call her case Nine Dash Line suit, encompassing areas that is none of her business.

May 21, 2014 10:32pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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