Friday, 24 May 2019
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Vietnam protests Indonesia's sinking of 13 Vietnamese fishing boats

Updated at Friday, 10 May 2019, 23:29
The Hanoitimes - Destroying Vietnamese fishing boats contradicts the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed concern after Indonesian authorities last weekend sank at least 13 Vietnamese fishing boats which Jakarta said was part of efforts to deter illegal fishing. 
 
Indonesia sinks foreign ships. Photo: Asianews
Indonesia sinks foreign ships. Photo: Asianews
Spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on May 9 said Hanoi was deeply concerned about the boat destroying. 

Hang said the arrest and sinking of boats go against the bilateral relations and contradict the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Hang said at a regular press meeting on May 9.

"Vietnam expects to boost the friendship with Indonesia in the spirit of strategic partnership and for the sake of the two peoples, contributing to the peace, stability, and development of the ASEAN of which the two countries are members," Hang stressed. 

Indonesian authorities said that Vietnamese fishing boats fished in their waters while the Vietnamese side claimed that many of the seized boats caught fish in the overlapping sea. 

The crackdown in West Kalimantan on May 4 is part of the Indonesian government plan to destroy 51 foreign boats seized by the country’s maritime security patrolon charges of illegal fishing, Bloomberg quoted Indonesia’s Marine and Fisheries Ministry as saying. 

Indonesia conducted the sinking after the collision between Indonesian Navy and Vietnamese Coast Guard in the overlapping sea in the South China Sea on April 27. Indonesia arrested 12 Vietnamese fishermen while the Vietnamese Coast Guard held an Indonesian enforcement officer in the incident.

Vietnam’s foreign ministry statement said the boat and fishermen were taken away “while operating within Vietnam’s waters, in an area where Vietnam and Indonesia are delimiting exclusive economic zones.”

However, the incidents at sea between Vietnam and Indonesia are among a series of issues that both Hanoi and Jakarta face in managing their waters and belong to broader maritime issues within their relationship, according to foreign experts. 

The Diplomat said that the issues require both sides a multifaceted approach, including agreement on disputed boundaries themselves, adequately policing waters, educating fishermen, and establishing clear rules of engagement and lines of communication between the two countries.
Linh Pham
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