PM Dũng’s explanatory report at 2nd session of 13th NA
22:19 | 06/12/2011

VGP – PM Nguyễn Tấn Dũng gave clear answers to NA deputies’ questions after delivering a report to clarify issues widely concerned by deputies and voters at the second session of the 13th National Assembly. Following is the full text of his answers.

PM Nguyễn Tấn Dũng at the testimony of the second session of the 13th National Assembly – Photo: VGP

NA deputies,

I carefully listened to your questions that mentioned all important and enormous issues. I will try to explain each issue in general.

I. First of all, your questions regarding the Government’s guidelines to secure our country’s sovereignty on the East Sea and guarantee the safety of our fishermen. I would like to explain as follows:

In the light of the foreign policy of peace, friendship, independence, self-reliance, and national sovereignty of our Party and State and on the basis of international law, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Declaration on the conduct of parties in the East Sea (DOC) signed between ASEAN and China, and an agreement on basic principles guiding the settlement of sea issues signed between Việt Nam and China during Party General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng’s recent visit to China.

Based on the above guidelines and principles, Việt Nam is keen on addressing and reiterating our sovereignty over four issues on the East Sea as follows:

- Firstly, regarding negotiation for demarcation of the areas beyond the mouth of the Tonkin Gulf.

In the Tonkin Gulf, after years of negotiations, Việt Nam and China reached an agreement on the demarcation of the gulf in 2000. And for the areas beyond the mouth of the Tonkin Gulf, under the UNCLOS, the continental shelf of our country and China’s Hainan Prefecture are overlapped. Since 2006, both sides began many rounds of negotiation until 2009, the two sides decided to shelf the talks because of their big different views. In early 2010, the two sides agreed to commence talks on the basic principles guiding the settlement of the sea issues. After many rounds of negotiation as I have said, Việt Nam and China signed the agreement on these principles, under which, the areas beyond the mouth of Tonkin Gulf is the issue only related to Việt Nam and China, and the two countries will define the demarcation of the areas on the basis of the UNCLOS, the DOC, and the agreement on basic principles signed between Việt Nam and China.

To have a solution accepted by both sides, Việt Nam and China are working to push up negotiation on the issue. I would also like to add that, while the demarcation of the areas are not defined, to the fact and some extent, each side has formed their own management areas based on the median line. From the circumstance, we have kept contact and dialogue with China on the basis of friendly neighbors to ensure security and safety of our fishermen.

- Secondly, we set to define and reiterate our sovereignty over Hoàng Sa archipelago.

Dear NA deputies, Việt Nam has asserted that we have enough legal and historical evidences proving our sovereignty over the Hoàng Sa and Trường Sa archipelagos. Việt Nam seized the control of the two archipelagos at least from 17th century. Việt Nam really owned the two archipelagos when they were not claimed by any other country. Việt Nam controlled these islands in reality, continuously and peacefully.

For Hoàng Sa archipelago, in 1956, China sent troops to occupy those islands in the Eastern part of the archipelago. In 1974, China continued using force to occupying the whole archipelago which was being managed by the then Government of the Republic of Việt Nam (Sai Gon Government). At that time, the Sai Gon Government condemned the China’s invading action and asked the United Nations for intervention. Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Việt Nam also issued a statement to protest the action of using force to appropriate the archipelago.

The consistent stance of Việt Nam is that the Hoàng Sa archipelago belongs to Việt Nam’s sovereignty. We have enough legal and historical evidences to assert this. However, Việt Nam sets to claim sovereignty over Hoàng Sa through peaceful means. Such the guideline is in accordance with the United Nations Charter, the UNCLOS, and the DOC.

- Thirdly, we set to settle and assert our sovereignty over the Trường Sa archipelago..

In 1975, after the country’s southern part liberated and the whole nation unified, the Navy of Vietnamese army took over five islands, namely Trường Sa, Song Tử Tây, Sinh Tồn, Nam Yết and Sơn Ca. These five islands were being managed by the then Sài Gòn Government.

After that, with our sovereignty, we continued to take control over additional 21 islands (including 12 submerged islands), with 33 military stations. Moreover, we built 15 marine platforms within the Vanguard Bank (bãi Tư Chính) to assert Việt Nam’s sovereignty over the areas that located within 200 nautical miles of Việt Nam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. Meanwhile, in the Trường Sa archipelago, China used force to occupy seven submerged reefs, Taiwan controlled one island, the Philippines seized nine islands, Malaysia took control of five islands, and Brunei claimed sovereignty in the areas but without occupying any island.

Therefore, Việt Nam has controlled the Trường Sa archipelago continuously, reality and peacefully. Việt Nam is the country that occupies the biggest number of islands in the archipelago compared to other relevant parties. Việt Nam is the only country that has civilians working and living in some of the islands, with 21 households and 80 persons, including six people born on the islands, and 12 cadres responsible for administrative management.

Our guidelines over Trường Sa and East Sea are as follows:

+ First, there must be strict observation of the UNCLOS, the DOC, and principles that Việt Nam and China has just agreed. Specifically, we demand relevant parties to maintain the status quo, without taking any action to further complicate the situation as it affects peace and stability. All the disputes must be settled through peaceful negotiation without using force and negotiations must be joined by all relevant parties.

+ Second, we continue to pour investment to upgrade socio-economic infrastructure and technical material facilities in places we are occupying, which include roads, ports, airports, water provision, medical stations, schools, houses, telecommunication, television and broadcasting to improve people’s life and enhance the capacity of self-defense of our people and military forces there.

+ Third, the Government has enacted mechanisms, policies and measures to support and protect our fishermen working in our waters. The Government is also reviewing of the supports for those fishermen, so that more necessary support will be given to the fishermen who live and work in our waters in general and Trường Sa archipelago in particular.

+ Fourth, we seriously follow and request relevant parties to fully observe the UNCLOS and the DOC in order to ensure the freedom of navigation, peace, stability and security on the East Sea. This is also a common wish and interests of all relevant parties, not only Việt Nam. The Ease Sea is an important international shipping line as the cargo volume transported on the sea make up 50-60 percent of the total on the path from West to East.

- Fourthly, we set to settle and assert sovereignty, sovereign and jurisdiction rights within the country’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone and continental shelf on the East Sea in accordance with the UNCLOS.

Việt Nam has been and will continue to manage and exercise our sovereignty, sovereign and jurisdiction rights more comprehensively and effectively within the 200-mile of Việt Nam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in line with the UNCLOS. We are determined to stand for the just stance

Dear NA deputies. Our stance on sovereignty and the settlement of disputes is supported by the international community, and most recently by leaders who attended the 19th ASEAN Summit and ASEAN-Partners Summits.

II. The second question on the Government’s official orientation to manage gold trading.

For this issue, I have made it clear in my report presented to you earlier. To save time, I will not repeat it. The Government is managing and regulating gold trading in line with requirements and orientations defined in the report that I have freshly provided you.

III. NA deputies’ question regarding the grounds for which the Government asked the  National Assembly to make the Law on Demonstrations. I would like to add more as follows:

Firstly, it is to implement the Constitution. Article 69 of the Constitution affirms that citizens have the right to staging demonstrations in line with legal regulations. However, it is until now that the Law on Demonstrations is yet to turn out. Thus, we should start the study of this Law. In conclusion, the Constitution has to be exercised.

Secondly, you, NA deputies, all know that in real life, there were gatherings where compatriots voiced their ideas, desires and proposals to authorities, however, such expressions are yet mandated by a law due to the absence of this legal tool. As a result, it caused difficulty for both citizens to exercise their right and authorities to manage such activity. Consequently, confusion emerged. And there were also activities that caused social disorder and those that made corrupt use of demonstrations to distort, excite and damage society.

Thirdly, dealing with the situation, the Government reported it to the NA Standing Committee of the previous tenure and the Committee asked the Government to promulgate a Decree to manage the issue. The Government promulgated Decree No.  38 to regulate the phenomenon, but the Decree issued by the Government has low level of legal effectiveness, failing to meet requirements contained in the Constitution as well as the real situation.

Therefore, the Government suggests the NA adding its proposal regarding the building of  of the Law on Demonstrations into the law and ordinance building program so we can  have it after all. That law must agree with the Constitution, cultural characteristics and specific conditions of Việt Nam as well as international norms to ensure the right to freedom and democracy of citizens as prescribed by the Constitution and laws. At the same time, the Law on Demonstrations that we would develop must also work towards preventing activities that make wrong use of demonstrations to do harm to security and interests of society and people.

With the above reasons, we ask the National Assembly to take our suggestion into consideration.

IV. Regarding the question on the Government’s orientation for citizens who stage demonstrations to express national patriotism and protect national sovereignty. I would like to answer as follows:

The consistent guideline of the Party, State and Government is to respect, praise, commend and reward meritoriously for activities and deeds that all Vietnamese people have rendered for national patriotism and protection of national sovereignty. All activities for that purposes are respected, welcomed, encouraged, praised, and commended. But at the same time the State does not encourage and must give strict punishments under the legal stipulation to activities that make corrupt use of patriotism, national sovereignty protection to do harm to people and the country. I think with this consistent guideline, our compatriots and comrades will surely support the building of the Law on Demonstrations.

V. Regarding the question on the Government’s solutions to prevent illegal minerals exploitation and better the management of the exploitation of minerals without  polluting the environment or causing social disorder and unsafety or exporting crude minerals. I would like to tell you this.

We have all known that minerals are valuable and rare, and are non-recycled resources. All people are responsible for protecting, preserving, exploiting, and using minerals with the highest efficiency. Over the past time, we have conducted surveys and investigations on national-scaled minerals and formulated a string of planning schemes to exploit minerals in service of socio-economic development. The exploitation of minerals proved productive. However, the Government has admitted that there remained shortcomings and weaknesses in the planning, exploitation, processing, and export of minerals as said earlier by NA deputies. The Government has recently held a debate on the issue. The Prime Minister concluded with the following key solutions:

Firstly, the Government requires local authorities and competent agencies to focus on putting an end to the current illegal and unlicensed exploitation of minerals that stirred concerns among people. The fact that local authorities did not know anything about illegal and unlicensed exploitation of minerals in their localities is unacceptable. We must address it. We must successfully prevent illegal and unlicensed exploitation of minerals that causes environmental pollution and sparks social disorder and concerns among people.

Secondly, the Government has set to halt new issuance of licenses for minerals exploitation. At the same time, the Government will review the current exploitation projects in a bid to find out and terminate immediately those causing environmental pollution and social disorder and insecurity or damaging roads. The review must be done along with amending planning schemes towards higher levels of processing and efficiency.

Thirdly, the Government has set to control exports of minerals and ores right at the project sites, not just only at border-gates from where they will be changed hand. Projects which failed to comply with the granted licenses or legal regulations will be terminated immediately. On the other hand, for the projects which already complied with their granted licenses but making no profits, the Government will also take proper measures to stop their exploitation for export. I appreciated the Minister of Industry and Trade who, as following this standpoint, stopped exports of iron ores at Quý Sa Mine- Lào Cai Province. The halt of mineral export would help us raise the levels of processing for higher efficiency.

Fourthly, the new issuance of licenses for minerals exploitation will be tightened. Verification of project feasibility, economic efficiency, and environment protection, technology, and national security and defense, etc, is compulsory before issuing licenses. It is only when these new requirements are met, the licenses will be granted.

Moreover, the Government asked the Ministry of Finance to increase budget for continued exploration and investigation of national minerals. According to the report prepared by Deputy PM Hoàng Trung Hải, we have explored minerals  on just over 50% of our land areas and over 1% of our waters. We need more budget for conducting further investigations to know exactly what we have, and the quantity and quality of what we have so that proper strategies could be adopted.

On the other hand, the Government is focusing on developing a mineral strategy based on the Politburo’s Conclusion and will soon promulgate Decrees on detailed implementation of the Mineral Law issued by the NA.

NA deputies. I really want and stay ready to answer next questions. But the NA Chairman said to me that my timing will be expired at 11.20. So I would like to stop here. I will answer in writing all the remaining questions directly to NA deputies and the answers will also be posted on the Việt Nam Government Web Portal.

Thank you and I wish you strength. I wish the NA’s session success. Thank comrades and compatriots./.

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