The Vietnamese government has proposed a plan to spend VND16 trillion (US$756 million) on boosting the development of its coast guard and fisheries surveillance forces, amid the tension with China in the East Vietnam Sea.
>> Vietnam sets up new fisheries surveillance unit amid sea tension >> Chinese vessel rams, breaks Vietnamese ship in Vietnam’s waters>> Chinese tugboat rams Vietnamese fisheries surveillance ship >> Chinese ship rams, sinks Vietnamese fishing boat in Vietnam’s waters The plan has been notified to all National Assembly (NA) deputies for opinions and feedback, NA vice chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan said at the June 2 meeting of the 7th session of the 13th NA. “This is an important plan that will be discussed and decided within this 7th session of the NA to rapidly enhance the combat ability of the two forces that are safeguarding the country’s sovereignty over its seas and islands,” Ngan said. The plan was put forward after China has dispatched its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 in Vietnamese waters since May 1 and deployed a large number of vessels to guard the rig. In addition, the government also plans to spend about VND10 trillion ($472.5 million) on granting loans at soft interest rates of only 3 percent per year to fishermen to build ships for offshore fishing. Le Nam, a deputy from central Thanh Hoa Province, applauded the plan, considering it a crucial policy that helps strengthen the capabilities of Vietnam’s maritime law enforcement forces. However, Nam proposed that the government should supervise the implementation of the plan to ensure its efficiency. Dang Ngoc Tung, a deputy from southern Dong Nai Province, said the plan will create good conditions for fishermen to maintain and expand their activities in the fishing fields within Vietnamese territorial waters, thereby contributing to the protection of the country’s sea and island sovereignty. Meanwhile, Tran Du Lich, deputy head of the NA delegation of Ho Chi Minh City, said that the amount of VND16 trillion is not enough, requesting that the government cut down its operating expenses to have more money for the plan. As previously reported, the Chinese drilling platform, after two times of relocation since May 1, is now located at 15°33’22’’ North latitude and 111°34’23’’ East longitude, still in the Vietnamese waters. Over the past month, the Chinese vessels that are guarding the rig have rammed or fired their water cannons at Vietnamese vessels when they were requested by the Vietnamese side to leave the Vietnamese waters. Such attacks have so far injured 12 Vietnamese fisheries surveillance officers and several fishermen, and damaged a dozen boats, the Vietnam Fisheries Resources Surveillance Department said.