|Chinese nationals at the entry procedures booths at Lào Cai (Việt Nam) - Haikou (China) border gate on January 8, 2023, the first day of China's reopening. — VNA/VNS Photo Quốc Khánh
HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday remarked on visa and entry as well as cross-border goods transportation issues related to the recent reopening of China after years of the neighbouring country’s strict adherence to zero COVID-19.
Addressing the press briefing held in Hà Nội, deputy spokesperson for the foreign ministry Phạm Thu Hằng reiterated that since March 15, 2022, the Government of Việt Nam has restored the process of granting visas and visa exemption certificates for foreigners and overseas Vietnamese to what they were prior to the COVID-19 prevention measures imposed two years earlier when the pandemic began.
These were in accordance with the regulations of the Law on Entry, Exit, Transit, and Residence of foreigners in Việt Nam, amended and supplemented in 2019 and documents instructing the implementation of this law.
This move facilitates the entry of tourists, experts and investors into Việt Nam and contributes to fulfilling the socio-economic recovery and development goals on the basis of ensuring COVID-19 prevention, deputy spokesperson Hằng said.
“With China’s official reopening and the COVID-19 situation under control in Việt Nam, Vietnamese authorities are working closely with Chinese counterparts to implement cooperation activities in the interest of both sides," she told reporters.
Hằng urged Vietnamese citizens who wish to travel to other countries, including China, to follow the updates on visa policies, immigration and COVID-19 regulations of other countries.
While abroad, if they need assistance or additional information they should contact diplomatic missions and local authorities in a timely manner, she added.
Regarding collaboration between Việt Nam and China to ensure the flow of goods after January 8, Hằng said that in implementing the joint statement made during the official visit to China by Vietnamese Party General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng last year and in the spirit of the discussions between high-level leaders, the authorities of both countries have maintained regular exchanges and made efforts to ensure that trade activities and supply chains are maintained smoothly, facilitating exports.
“We've also been informed that China’s customs announced that from January 8, it would remove all COVID-19 tests against imported goods, including frozen goods at the border,” the deputy spokesperson remarked.
“During the Lunar New Year, a number of Chinese border gates will apply measures to facilitate customs clearance including customs clearance by prior appointment," Hằng noted.
Localities and domestic enterprises need to update themselves on this information, to work with their Chinese partners to develop a plan for transportation and customs clearance of goods after China has reopened, she said.
Compensation in Essex lorry deaths case
Hằng said that according to the Vietnamese Embassy in the UK, on January 6, 2023, the UK Supreme Court ruled that 43-year-old Ronan Hughes (from Northern Ireland), described as the ringleader of the people smuggling ring involved in the deaths of 39 Vietnamese nationals in October 2019, currently serving a 20-year prison sentence, will have assets worth more than 180,000 pounds confiscated to compensate the families of Vietnamese victims.
However, this ruling was only an initial legal decision and its execution is predicted to take some time in accordance with UK law, Hằng commented, adding that the penalty for failure to follow through with the order would be another two years in prison for the convicted man, Hằng remarked.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs directed the Embassy of Việt Nam in the UK to maintain contact with the British authorities to closely follow the case to keep themselves updated and ready to take necessary measures to ensure the rights and interests of Vietnamese citizens, according to the Vietnamese diplomat.
Philippines Court ruling
The deputy spokesperson was also asked for comments over the Supreme Court of Phillipines’ recent ruling that the tri-parte agreement on joint oil exploration in 2005 between firms from the Philippines (Philippine National Oil Company), China (China National Offshore Oil Corporation) and Việt Nam (Vietnam Oil and Gas Corporation) in the South China Sea as “unconstitutional and void.”
The Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking however expired in 2008, after opposition from progressive Filipino legislators.
The Vietnamese diplomat in response noted that Việt Nam has full legal basis and historical evidence to assert its sovereignty over Hoàng Sa (Paracel) and Trường Sa (Spratly) in accordance with international law, as well as its sovereignty and jurisdiction towards the waters as established in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982.
“As a littoral country and a signatory of UNCLOS 1982, Việt Nam believes that all international cooperation activities, including maritime operations, need to adhere to international law, particularly UNCLOS 1982, and also they need to respect the sovereignty, sovereign rights, jurisdiction and interests of countries, in line with international law and UNCLOS 1982,” deputy spokesperson Hằng said. — VNS