Opinion
Veteran appeals to China's First Lady over East Sea
  • | dtinews.vn | May 21, 2014 10:12 PM
 >>  Vietnam should take East Sea dispute to the courts
 >>  China's East Sea incursions betray spirit of cooperation

A Vietnamese war veteran has sent an open letter to Chinese First Lady, Peng Liyuan, asking for her due attention to the rising tension between Vietnam and China over the East Sea issues.

Phan Duy Quan, 48, is from Sao Do Town in the northern province of Hai Duong. He wrote:

Dear Madam Peng Liyuan – the First Lady of the People's Republic of China,

I’m a Vietnamese citizen who writes this letter to you in hopes that you would turn your attention to the rising tension between our two countries over the East Sea after China illegally placed the Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig on Vietnam’s continental shelf.

Although I've never met you, I have heard much about you in the press: that you are successful both domestic and social affairs, that you are said to be an ideal wife to President Xi Jinping and that you are honoured as an ambassador of Chinese contemporary culture abroad. I also understand that you have been granted the role of the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s Goodwill Ambassador. It appears that your qualities and many achievements have earned the admiration and respect of the Chinese people and people all over the world.


Peng Liyuan (second from left) being granted the role of the WHO’s Goodwill Ambassador in June 2011

Although my understanding of your character may not be sufficient to do so, I am still pinning my personal hopes on the fact that you might continue to uphold your role in maintaining order by promoting a peaceful solution to the complicated issues surrounding the East Sea.

As I'm sure you know, on May 1 the state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) illegally set up the Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig on Vietnam’s continental shelf on the East Sea. China has also deployed hundreds of ships of all kinds to the area, as well as military aircraft, which have threatened and even attacked Vietnamese ships, both military and civilian. China has consistently acted aggressively, even though Vietnam has patiently stood by its principal of peaceful but determined protection of our territories.

Up to the present time, the Vietnamese people have tried to maintain the spirit of peaceful cooperation between neighbours which we have always tried to nurture. For example, when we saw the terrible damages suffered by the Chinese people in 2008, when a major earthquake hit Sichuan Province, the government and people of Vietnam sent our condolences and support to help our Chinese neighbours.

On March 8, when the Malaysia MH 370 went missing while carrying many Chinese citizens, Vietnamese authorities made great contributions to the search effort. Apart from its international responsibility, such activities prove the sincere good will of the Vietnamese people and government towards the Chinese government and people.

Your Excellency! Vietnam and China are neighbours and history has proved that Vietnamese people have always had a great desire for a peaceful, prosperous and independent life. We have also always had a great desire to protect our land and waters. That is an immutable truth.

I sincerely hope that, as the WHO's Goodwill Ambassador, you might pay a visit to Vietnam so you can see with your own eyes how much the Vietnamese value a good relationship with China.

And, if possible, I hope that you will help answer a question that has been pressing on the minds of so many Vietnamese people lately: Does China have any reliable historical evidence to prove that the Paracels archipelago belongs China, apart from the fact that China used force to illegally occupy the archipelago in 1974? And by what justification has China unilaterally drawn the "Nine-dotted lines" to occupy the East Sea?

Your Excellency! I’m a war veteran who is living with cancer, which may claim my life at any time. However, I still have a solid belief that there never was, nor will there ever be a generation of Vietnamese who will give up any piece of land or strip of water within our borders.

I do hope that you and I, two citizens of neighbouring countries, will be able to contribute in some small way to reenforce the spirit of friendship.

China may may have to justify her actions in international court unless it removes the illegal oil rig, but the government of Vietnam and Vietnamese people really do not expect that will happen. This will only be done as a last resort.

Please let us join hands to prevent a possible war that would result in misery and losses to people on both sides. It would be a war of brother against brother.

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