Jul 03, 2020 / 11:32

Seismic surveys in Vietnam EEZ must be authorized by Hanoi: Spokesperson

The Hanoitimes - Any geological surveys in Vietnam's EEZ is only lawful with Hanoi's authorization.

Any geological surveys in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) must be authorized by the country, said a foreign ministry spokesperson in response to news on the presence of a Chinese ship within Vietnamese waters in the South China Sea.

 Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang of Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs at a press conference on July 2. Photo: Minh Tuan

“Any activities relating to seismic surveys and scientific research within Vietnamese waters defined in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982 must get Vietnam’s permission,” Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang of Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Thursday.

In a latest move, on July 1, the US Navy posted a picture in which the navy’s Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) conducted routine operations in the vicinity of the Chinese vessel Hai Yang Di Zhi 4 Hao in Spartly Islands in the South China Sea.

In mid-June, the survey ship sailed into waters in Vietnam's EEZ. The ship left on June 20, but vessel tracking software used by BenarNews and service Radio Free Asia (RFA) showed that the Hai Yang 4 was roughly 205 nautical miles (330 km) from Vietnam’s coast on Tuesday – the last day it was transmitting its location.

“Abiding by countries’ sovereignty, sovereignty right, and jurisdiction as well as UNCLOS 1982 would be extremely important to the maintenance of peace, security, stability, cooperation, and development in the South China Sea, in the region, and the whole world as well,” Hang noted.

 The USS Gabrielle Giffords (top) conducts operations near the Chinese vessel Hai Yang Di Zhi 4 Hao I (below) in the South China Sea, July 1, 2020. Photo: US Navy 

Earlier on June 22, Vietnam’s media reported that US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink said Washington would support commercial energy projects between US companies and Vietnam.

Earlier in June, Vietnamese state media announced that Texas-based ExxonMobil would invest in Vietnam’s energy sector, after a phone call between Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and ExxonMobil senior executive Irtiza Sayyed.

China is known for sending survey ships into disputed waters or other claimants’ exclusive economic zones to pressure those countries out of resource exploration.

From April 15 to May 15, China sent the Hai Yang 8 – a sister ship to the Hai Yang 4 – into Malaysia’s EEZ, along with an escort fleet of Chinese coast-guard ships.

The Hai Yang 8 performed a survey well-within Malaysian waters, and right near a Malaysian-contracted drillship called the West Capella, which was exploring for oil there.

That incident led to the US Navy deploying combat ships near the area at least three times.

“The Chinese Communist Party must end its pattern of bullying Southeast Asians out of offshore oil, gas, and fisheries. Millions of people in the region depend on those resources for their livelihood,” said Adm. John Aquilino in a press release on one such occasion.