Vietnam has lodged an official complaint with China following the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing vessel near the former’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago in the East Vietnam Sea, spokeswoman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang said on Friday.
In a press release on Friday, Hang quoted information from the Vietnamese authorities that fishing vessel number QNg 90617 TS, carrying eight Vietnamese fishermen on board, was fishing near Hoang Sa's Phu Lam Island on April 2 when a China coast guard ship hit and sank it.
Hang said a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had a meeting with a representative of the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi and presented the protest diplomatic note.
The Vietnamese official asked the Chinese side to investigate, clarify, and strictly handle civil servants and the Chinese vessel responsible for the incident.
Similar actions are not to be repeated and adequate compensation is to be paid to the Vietnamese fishermen for their losses, the Vietnamese side asked.
Vietnam has sufficient legal grounds and historical evidence affirming its sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes in accordance with international law, Hang said. Such an act by the China coast guard ship violates Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Hoang Sa islands, causing damage, threatening the safety of life and the legitimate interests of Vietnamese fishermen.
It also went against the common perception of senior leaders of the two countries on the humane treatment of fishermen and the Vietnam-China agreement on the basic principles guiding the settlement of maritime issues, and in contrary to the spirit of the Declaration of Conduct of the Parties in the East Vietnam Sea (DOC).
It thus complicates the situation and is not conducive to the bilateral relations as well as the maintenance of peace, stability and cooperation in the East Vietnam Sea.
According to information from the Vietnamese authorities, eight Vietnamese fishermen aboard the QNg 90617 TS were safely rescued as of Friday.