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Jul 30, 2019 / 22:13

Hanoi urged to increase patrol in South China Sea to protect fishermen from Chinese harassment

Vietnamese fishermen must be better protected from Chinese harassment, a society has said.

The Vietnam Fisheries Society on July 30 has called for more patrol in the South China Sea (SCS) to better protect Vietnamese fishermen amid China’s aggression by deploying a survey ship and escorts within Vietnamese territorial waters.
A Vietnamese fishing boat robbed by a Chinese vessel within Vietnam's territorial water in early June. Photo: Quang Nam newspaper
A Vietnamese fishing boat robbed by a Chinese vessel within Vietnam's territorial waters in early June. Photo: Quang Nam newspaper
The society raised voice protesting Chinese violations of Vietnamese territorial waters in the SCS, which Vietnam calls the East Sea, demanding Chinese boats to leave immediately. 
The society made the strong protest in a document filing to several Vietnamese agencies including the Government Office, the Party’s Foreign Commission, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the Ministry of Defense, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. 
The protest was made after fishermen in Vietnam’s southern and northern central regions reported that the survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 intruded into Vietnamese exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and the continental shelf near Bai Tu Chinh (Vanguard Bank) in the south of SCS. 
This sea area entirely lies within Vietnam’s territorial water defined in the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNLOS) 1982 which both Vietnam and China are members of. 
In March, a China Maritime Surveillance Vessel chased a Vietnamese fishing boat which moored near Da Loi Island (Discovery Reef) in Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago, and fired water cannon at the boat.
The boat sank after hitting rocks while it was being chased. All five fishermen on board were rescued by another Vietnamese fishing boat, according to the MOFA.
Earlier this month, Haiyang Dizhi 8 and escorts encroached on Vietnamese waters, sparking protest from the MOFA and the US Department of State. 
The US called Chinese acts “bullying”, saying that China’s reclamation and militarization of disputed outposts in the waterway, including the use of maritime militia to intimidate, coerce, and threaten other nations, undermine the peace and security of the region.