The United States has once again voiced condemnation of the Chinese coast guard vessel which sank a Vietnamese fishing boat in the East Vietnam Sea last week.
In a statement on Thursday, the U.S. Department of Defense asserted it was “greatly concerned” by the incident.
“China’s behavior stands in contrast to the United States' vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region, in which all nations, large and small, are secure in their sovereignty, free from coercion, and able to pursue economic growth consistent with accepted international rules and norms,” the Department of Defense stated.
“The United States will continue to support efforts by our allies and partners to ensure freedom of navigation and economic opportunity throughout the entire Indo-Pacific.”
The agency called on all parties to refrain from actions that could destabilize the region, and distract from the global response to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of State expressed its concerns regarding the incident, stating that the sinking was the latest in a long string of Chinese actions asserting its unlawful maritime claims and negatively impacting its Southeast Asian neighbors with coastlines on the East Vietnam Sea.
In a press release on Friday last week, Le Thi Thu Hang, spokesperson of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that fishing vessel number QNg 90617 TS, carrying eight Vietnamese crewmen, was anchored near Phu Lam Island in Vietnam's Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago on April 2 when a China coast guard ship hit and sank it.
The eight fishermen were safely rescued on April 3.
Such actions should not be repeated and adequate compensation should be paid to the Vietnamese fishermen for their losses, Hang stressed.