A number of Vietnamese fishermen have recently been harassed by Chinese vessels in the South China Sea, sparkling public indignation.
Spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang of Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Photo: MOFA
The harassment includes bullying and seizing fishing equipment in the sea around Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) islands, according to issues raised by reporters at a press conference held on June 20 by the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).
In response to the press, the MOFA’s Spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said Vietnam strongly condemns the harassment towards the Vietnamese fishermen, demanding Beijing strictly punish the doers of those actions.
“On June 19, the MOFA worked with the Embassy of China in Hanoi to protest the activities and demand China to compensate for the victims,” Hang said at the press conference on June 20.
Beijing must educate its enforcement forces to avoid recurrence, Hang added.
She affirmed that Vietnam has jurisdiction and sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands. The Chinese vessels’ actions obviously violate the Vietnamese waters and infringe international treaties and the two countries’ agreement on maritime settlement.
Last week, a Chinese vessel was blamed to hit and ram a Filipino fishing boat, leaving 22 crew members in distress at sea. The fishermen were then rescued by a Vietnamese fishing boat which was fishing in Truong Sa Islands’ Bai Co Rong (Reed Bank) which is also claimed by the Philippines.
Strongly protesting the ship sinking by the Chinese vessel, Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr at the United Nations on June 17 slammed the “felony” of abandoning persons in distress.
Regarding this issue, Vietnamese Spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said at the press conference today [June 20] that the rescuing people in distress is the must do and quite normal. The Vietnamese fishing ship has assumed international responsibilities for working at sea regulated in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) which Vietnam has signed.