China is attempting to establish a new fishing area in the East Vietnam Sea, a naval officer has said.
The announcement was made by Colonel Le Thanh Van, Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff of Naval Zone 3, at a meeting that was convened at the High Command Zone 3 in the central city of Da Nang on Wednesday.
The situation in the East Vietnam Sea has become very complicated this year, according to Col. Van.
China has increased its military activities including personnel training, patrols, and naval maneuvers, flexing its military muscles and threatening other countries involved in sea disputes, the colonel said.
Beijing has also expanded naval patrols to provide security and support for its maritime activities in the area, and resorting to aggressive methods to chase down, sabotage, appropriate property and attack Vietnamese fishermen, creating fear for them whenever they set sail.
China regularly announces the prohibition of all fishing operations in the area above the 12th parallel north, while directing a large number of fishing boats to operate in Vietnamese waters, Col. Van said.
Vietnamese maritime areas have been severely violated, including cases in which Chinese fishing boats were seen operating in an area only 45 nautical miles from Ly Son Island, off Vietnam’s south-central province of Quang Ngai.
All of China’s illegal activities in the East Vietnam Sea are considered Beijing’s attempt to create new fishing grounds, according to Col. Van.