Việt Nam protests China's unilateral fishing ban in East Sea

April 20, 2023 - 17:52
Việt Nam on Thursday denounced China's annual fishing ban, which this year takes place from May 1 to August 16, over many stretches of the East Sea
Deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Đoàn Khắc Việt addresses reporters' questions at the briefing on Thursday in Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo Văn Điệp

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam on Thursday denounced China's annual fishing ban, which this year takes place from May 1 to August 16, over many stretches of the East Sea (internationally known as South China Sea).

Responding to reporters' questions during the regular press conference held in Hà Nội, Deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Đoàn Khắc Việt stated that Việt Nam's position on China's unilateral fishing ban in the East Sea has been consistent and clearly reiterated in the past few years.

"China's 'fishing ban' not only violates our sovereignty towards the Hoàng Sa (Paracel) archipelago, but also Việt Nam's sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its waters and its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as delineated under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea," Việt said.

Việt Nam asks that China respect Việt Nam's sovereignty over the Paracel Islands and its sovereign rights and jurisdiction over Vietnamese waters, refrain from complicating the situation, and contribute to the maintenance of peace, stability, and order, according to the diplomat.

China has executed the fishing ban every summer since 1999, ostensibly to "promote sustainable marine fishery development and improve marine ecology," with the Coast Guard units in charge of patrolling and enforcement, but the problem is that many areas under the ban are disputed, with overlapping claims from several countries in the region, including Việt Nam.

A question was also raised over China's recent condemnation of United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken's remark made during his visit to Việt Nam last week that the US is helping Việt Nam and countries in the region on 'maritime domain awareness' which help them see clearly what is happening in the seas surrounding the countries when it comes to using of coercion by other countries against their fishing fleets.

China said in response "other countries outside the region, based on Cold War mentality, took every opportunity to sow discord in the region, and this is unpopular and doomed to fail," and that the situation in the East Sea "remains stable" because of the joint efforts of China and ASEAN countries, reads a statement by the Chinese Embassy in Hà Nội.

Deputy spokesperson Việt today remarked that "The maintenance of security safety, freedom of navigation and upholding the rule of law in the East Sea is closely linked to peace, stability and development operations for common prosperity in the Asia Pacific and the world at large."

Việt Nam hopes that all countries and relevant parties will contribute responsibly to this matter, on the basis of compliance with international laws, especially the 1982 UNCLOS, the deputy spokesperson went on.

During the US State Secretary's visit, made at the invitation of the Vietnamese foreign minister Bùi Thanh Sơn, Việt said that both sides have reaffirmed the basic principles of this bilateral relation, including the principle of respecting each other's independence, sovereignty, and political system; discussed the implementation of the results of the telephone conversation between General Secretary of the Communist Party of Việt Nam Nguyễn Phú Trọng and US President Joe Biden; and agreed on promoting activities commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Việt Nam-US Comprehensive Partnership.

Deputy spokesperson Việt also noted that all future high-level visits between Việt Nam and the US leaders will be made public at an appropriate time.

COVID-19 emergence

With questions regarding the rising COVID-19 infections recently in Việt Nam since the start of April and whether the country plans to adjust exit and entry protocols in response, Việt noted that the Ministry of Health has issued Document No.2116 recommending that the people follow pandemic prevention requirements such as wearing masks and disinfecting.

The health ministry also sent out instructions to health institutions on the reception and treatment of COVID-19 patients three days ago, according to the diplomat.

Việt Nam's COVID-19 measures are still being implemented in accordance with the Government's Resolution No.38 (dated March 17, 2022), and the Ministry of Health's plan to combat infectious diseases in 2023, Việt said.

Citizen protection

Regarding the flare-up of conflict in Sudan which has resulted in over 3,000 casualties so far, the deputy spokesperson said according to the Vietnamese Embassy in Egypt and Sudan, there is one citizen with dual Việt Nam and Australia citizenship staying in the capital city Khartoum and 16 other Vietnamese citizens who are crewmembers of a ship docking at a port in Sudan.

All citizens are currently safe, Việt said.

"The Embassy of Việt Nam is still closely monitoring the development and ready to implement citizen protection measures as necessary," Việt remarked

Asked about the current rising tension in the Taiwan Strait and whether Việt Nam has similar plans to Indonesia's readiness to evacuate its 350,000 citizens in Taiwan back home, Việt said that peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait are very significant for the peace, stability, and development in the region and the world.

"Việt Nam hopes that the parties will actively contribute to the maintenance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait," the deputy spokesperson added. — VNS