Beijing: Vietnam has warned that it has no option but to seek international arbitration over the South China Sea standoff with China if Beijing continued to push it to do so by their activities in the disputed Islands.
Vietnam`s Deputy Defence Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh said at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore that Vietnam was yet to decide when to seek international arbitration but the decision hinged on China`s actions in the South China Sea.
"They [China] have asked us several times not to bring the case to international court," Vinh was quoted as saying by the Hong Kong based South China Morning Post today.
"Our response was that it`s up to China`s activities and behaviour; if they continue to push us, we have no choice. This [legal] option is also in accordance with international law," he said.
Vinh said despite Beijing repeatedly asking it to shun any such plans it will not give up its rights of sovereignty over the disputed islands.
Vinh`s remarks came after Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said his country had prepared evidence for a legal suit to challenge China`s claim in the waters off the Vietnamese coast and was considering the best time to file it.
Dung recently travelled to the Philippines, which too had a similar dispute with China over the South China Sea, and held talks with President Benigno Aquino III to counter China`s moves.
He said Vietnam will not give up its rights of sovereignty over the disputes islands and condemned the deployment of Chinese rig which resulted in anti-China riots in Vietnam.
The Philippines has already moved its dispute under the UN Convention of Law of Seas (UNCLOS), but China refused take part in it.
The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei besides Taiwan hotly contest China`s claims that most of the South China Sea belonged to it.
The two navies have already clashed hundreds of times ever since the rig was deployed in May 1.
Vinh held a bilateral meeting with Wang Guanzhong, deputy chief of general staff of the People`s Liberation Party, (PLA) in Singapore yesterday.
Chinese defence spokesman Yang Yujun said Wang and Vinh "candidly exchanged views" on security issues but did not provide any details.
Vinh praised remarks by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel at the regional security forum saying that they had "great value and significance" in forcing China back to the negotiating table.