Aug 01, 2019 / 14:59

At regional forum, Vietnam protests China aggression in South China Sea

The Hanoitimes - Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh warns that Chinese activities escalate disputes and strengthen militarization activities in the sea.

Vietnam’s top diplomat at the 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) on Wednesday [July 31] denounced illegal activities by a Chinese oil survey vessel and its escorts in Vietnamese territorial waters.
Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh. Photo: VOV
Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh at the 52nd AMM. Photo: VOV
The activities of Chinese oil survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 and its escorts are infringing upon the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of Vietnam, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh said at the meeting held in Bangkok, Thailand.

China’s activities seriously violated Vietnam’s sovereignty and jurisdiction under the 1982 United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), he emphasized, warning that this is also the next step in escalating disputes and strengthening militarization activities in the sea, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam said in a statement.

These developments undermine trust, increase tensions and directly affect peace, stability, security, safety, freedom of navigation and aviation in the South China Sea.

The actions violate the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DOC) in the South China Sea and go against the commitment to maintain a favorable environment for the implementation of the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea between the ASEAN and China, Minh noted.

Minh suggested that the ASEAN should maintain solidarity and share a common voice, reaffirm the principles and commitments to peace and stability, calling for restraint, and preventing all unilateral actions that undermine the process of regional dialogue and cooperation. 

In addition, the bloc should boost its legitimate economic activity of coastal countries and attempt to build the COC in an effective and substantive manner, Minh said at the event marking the attendance of representatives from more than 30 countries, including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Since earlier July, Chinese survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 and its escorts have been conducting activities in the south of the SCS in Vietnam's EEZ, near Vietnam’s Bai Tu Chinh (Vanguard Bank). 

The illegal approach of Chinese ship has prompted protest from Vietnam and several major powers. Spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the act violated Vietnam’s EEZ and continental shelf and demanded immediate withdrawal from Vietnamese waters.