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Vietnamese fishermen detained in Chinese port after sea arrest

Update: July, 11/2014 - 08:25
Le Hai Binh, a spokesperson from the Foreign Affairs Ministry. — VNA? VNS Photo Duong Giang

HA NOI (VNS) — Six Vietnamese fishermen and their equipment have been detained at the port of Sanya in China's Hainan Province. The Vietnamese mission in China has been working closely with Chinese authorities on the case.

Le Hai Binh, a spokesperson from the Foreign Affairs Ministry, made the announcement yesterday at a regular press conference.

The six fishermen were arrested by Chinese patrol ships on July 3. The Chinese said the fishermen were operating in Chinese waters, but Binh said both sides were still working to identify the exact location at the time of arrest.

Binh said officials from the Vietnamese consular mission in Guangzhou and the Vietnamese Embassy in China had visited the Vietnamese fishermen yesterday morning and said they were in a stable condition.

Binh also said Viet Nam was still considering possible legal action against China,more than two months after it placed an oil rig within Vietnamese waters on May 2.

Opposition resolution

Also yesterday, deputies from Da Nang's People's Council released a resolution expressing its opposition to China's illegal placement of the HD-981 oil drilling rig in Vietnamese territorial waters.

The resolution said the Hoang Sa Archipelago was one of Da Nang's administrative units.

It condemned China's placement of the oil rig and other activities that violated international law and Viet Nam's sovereignty, demanding China remove the oil rig and other associated ships.

He added that the NanHai-09 oil rig had also remained within disputed waters since the end of June.

Fishing boat DNA 90152 from Thanh Khe District in Da Nang was capsized by a Chinese ship on May 26, and the resolution condemned the use of force that prevented fishermen from exercising their right to make a livelihood in Viet Nam's traditional waters.

Surveillance plane

Another Chinese surveillance aircraft yesterday flew above Vietnamese law enforcement ships operating in Vietnamese waters in the East Sea.

The site was close to where the Chinese drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 is illegally standing, reported the Viet Nam Fisheries Surveillance Department.

At 11.45, 12.40 and 13.05, the plane, coded CMS-B3808, circled above the Vietnamese ships at a height of 200-300m before leaving, it said.

At the same time, more than 100 Chinese, including five battleships, continued surrounding the drilling rig, which was set up in Viet Nam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in early May.

The Chinese ships continued to form lines around the rig, aggressively preventing Vietnamese ships from approaching the rig to demand China remove it.

Despite harassment, Viet Nam's coast guard and fisheries surveillance ships operated in the area about 10-11 nautical miles from the rig.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese fishing vessels, facing violent approaches by Chinese fishing ships and coast-guard vessels, maintained their normal activities about 42 nautical miles from the rig.

Respect for rights

At the same event yesterday, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Binh said Viet Nam's consistent policy was to respect the basic rights of its citizens.

He was responding to news that US legislators had criticised human rights in Viet Nam.

"Viet Nam's important achievements in the field of human rights have been internationally recognised through its election to the UN Human Rights Council for the 2014-16 term," he said.

In the past, he said Viet Nam and the US had organised many meetings, and exchanges to strengthen understanding on the issue.

He added that US politicians and officials had witnessed achievements the country had recorded, including those in human rights.

According to Binh, US legislators' criticism was based on erroneous and subjective information that failed to reflect the enforcement of human rights in Viet Nam.

Regarding the recent protest at the Vietnamese Embassy in Cambodia on July 8, Binh said the action of some extremists went against the traditional friendship between Viet Nam and Cambodia, and the Ministry had asked Cambodia to deal with the case. — VNS

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