Mar 22, 2019 / 16:43

Vietnam officially protests China over ramming in South China Sea

The Hanoitimes - Hanoi demands Beijing to strictly punish Chinese involvers, ensure nonoccurence of similar incidents, and compensate the victims.

Hanoi has officially logged a protest with Beijing over the ramming of a Vietnamese fishing boat earlier this month within Vietnam’s waters in the South China Sea. 
 
Illustrative photo
Illustrative photo
On March 6, a Chinese maritime surveillance vessel chased the boat and fired water cannon on it. The boat sank shortly after that, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said on March 21.

China needs to strictly punish crew aboard the surveillance vessel, ensure no similar incidents, and compensate the victims, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Consular Department demanded at a working session with the Chinese embassy in Hanoi. 

All five fishermen on board were rescued by another Vietnamese fishing boat. Vietnamese rescue agency said that they had called for help from a Chinese rescue agency but it didn’t work.

According to Reuters, a Vietnamese rescue agency said earlier that the Chinese vessel rammed the fishing boat.

“The Chinese vessel committed an act that violated Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Hoang Sa archipelago, threatened the lives and damaged the properties and the legitimate interests of Vietnamese fishermen,” Reuters quoted Vietnam's foreign ministry as saying.

Meanwhile, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman in Beijing was cited by Chinese media as saying earlier that the fishing boat had sunk when the Chinese vessel approached, and that the Chinese crew had rescued the fishermen. However, the spokesperson gave no details of the rescue. 

Vietnamese fishermen have been in distress within the country’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) islands when China intensified its expansionism in the sea. Chinese maritime surveillance vessels have ever attacked, robbed and shot at Vietnamese fishermen.  

China which claims the majority of the South China Sea has put the region in tensions as it continued installations and military structures on artificial islands and reefs, unnerving the region and angering Washington.