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Vietnam asks China to 'educate' crew members who drove away Vietnamese fishing boats

Friday, June 21, 2019, 16:00 GMT+7
Vietnam asks China to 'educate' crew members who drove away Vietnamese fishing boats
A Vietnamese fishing boat that had 2.5 metric tons of squid taken away by Chinese crew members is seen in Quang Nam Province, central Vietnam. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

China should 'educate' its crew members to refrain from such actions as driving away Vietnamese fishing boats working in the waters of the Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago in the East Vietnam Sea, following several cases that happened in the recent past, Vietnam’s foreign ministry spokesperson said on Thursday.

Reports that some Vietnamese fishing boats operating in Hoang Sa were driven away and had their assets and fishing tools confiscated by China’s authorized vessels were among issues raised during the regular meeting of the Vietnamese foreign ministry in Hanoi yesterday.

Responding to reporters’ questions about the sea-related issue, the ministry’s spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang emphasized that Vietnam has sufficient legal foundation and historical evidence proving its sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos in line with international law.

“The aforementioned actions of China’s authorized vessels violated Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa, infringed international law and the Vietnam-China agreement on basic principles guiding the settlement of sea-related issues, and threatened the safety and assets of Vietnamese fishermen who were working normally in this maritime area,” Hang said.

The spokeswoman underlined that Vietnam resolutely opposes the above-mentioned actions of the Chinese side and demands that China strictly deal with the Chinese crew members and authorized vessels that committed the violations.

Hanoi also demands that Beijing “pay proper compensation to the affected Vietnamese fishermen, and educate the Chinese crew members to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents,” Hang added.

In the latest incident on June 2, a Vietnamese boat anchored around 22 nautical miles from Tri Ton Island in Hoang Sa was approached by a Chinese vessel. One man from the Chinese boat then told the Vietnamese ship to leave as they were not “allowed to fish in Chinese waters,” according to Tran Van Nhan, owner of the Vietnamese boat.

Some armed Chinese crew members then stormed into Nhan’s boat and took away some 2.5 metric tons of squid worth more than VND250 million (US$10,706).

On Wednesday, a representative of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs met with a representative of the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi to protest these actions by the Chinese side.

Vietnam requested in the meeting that China verify the incident, properly compensate the affected Vietnamese fishermen and strictly handle the crew members and vessels involved, Hang said at Thursday’s press conference.

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