Việt Nam's Vanguard Bank is not a disputed zone: foreign ministry

October 04, 2019 - 07:01
Vanguard Bank, contrary to false territorial claims by China, belongs entirely to Việt Nam and is definitely not a disputed or overlapping area.
Vietnamese foreign ministry spokesperson Lê Thị Thu Hằng during Thursday press briefing in Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo Văn Điệp

HÀ NỘI — Vanguard Bank, contrary to false territorial claims by China, belongs entirely to Việt Nam and is definitely not a disputed area or one with overlapping territorial claims.

The statement was made by Vietnamese foreign ministry spokesperson Lê Thị Thu Hằng during the regular press briefing held on Thursday in Hà Nội.

She was speaking in response to a comment made by her Chinese counterpart Geng Shuang earlier in September, which claimed China has sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Vanguard Bank and demanded Việt Nam halt its oil and gas exploration in the area.

“Việt Nam reiterated that the Vanguard Bank lies completely within Việt Nam’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf, as delineated from the Vietnamese shore in accordance with the United Conventions on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) 1982, and that the Vanguard Bank is not a disputed area or with overlapping claims,” Hằng said.

"China does not possess any credible basis that is backed up by international law to lay claims to this region," foreign ministry spokesperson said, adding that the UNCLOS 1982 and recent judicial cases have all attested to this fact.

At the briefing, Hằng said the Haiyang Dizhi 08 survey ship and its accompanying vessels “are continuing to expand its activities and directly violating Vietnamese territory”.

This is the fourth time the Chinese vessels illegally entered Vietnamese waters since the first encroachment in early July.

“Việt Nam resolutely protested these activities and has engaged diplomatically with China. Việt Nam once again demanded China immediately end their activities, withdraw vessels and stop all similar violations,” Hằng said, adding that Việt Nam is determined to protect its sovereignty and interests by all means permitted by international law.

Responding to questions regarding China’s recent propaganda movie called “Nanhai, Nanhai” (Southern Sea) which contains inaccurate information that go against Vietnamese sovereignty in the South China Sea (known in Việt Nam as the East Sea), Hằng said: “As we have repeatedly said, Việt Nam has sufficient legal and historical evidences that proves Việt Nam’s sovereignty over the Trường Sa (Spratly) and Hoàng Sa (Paracel) archipelagoes in line with international law.”
That China is propagating and educating its population with wrong information that contradicts international laws and historical facts is harming bilateral relations, she said.

At the briefing, Hằng said Vietnamese authorities are working to verify the alleged announcements from China’s Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission that China is deploying deep-water oil rigs in the South China Sea, without giving clear indication to the exact location of the rigs.

However, the foreign ministry spokesperson said all activities conducted in the South China Sea must comply with UNCLOS 1982, the principles of freedom of maritime and air navigation, and contributing to regional and global peace and order.

Anti-money laundering

Spokesperson Hằng on Thursday also dismissed a recent report from the Global Financial Integrity which lists Việt Nam amongst the countries with the worst money laundering situation.

“The information by Global Financial Integrity is not accurate and does not reflect the reality and the Vietnamese Government’s efforts in the fight against money laundering. The Vietnamese Government is fully aware of the adverse impacts that money laundering activities have on the country’s socio-economic development,” Hằng said, adding that in recent years, Việt Nam has carried out numerous measures on many fronts to consolidate its legal frameworks, including integrating international norms and following recommendations to prevent money laundering.

Hằng noted that currently, Việt Nam has sufficient legal basis to prevent and combat money laundering, remarking that the activity is totally unlawful and subject to heavy punishments as regulated by the Penal Code.

In May this year, the Vietnamese Government has promulgated the action plan to deal with the risks of money laundering and terrorism funding in 2019-20 to beef up the efforts to prevent such activities, Hằng said.

Việt Nam is also pushing to improve its financial and banking system, modernising the infrastructure, technology and management capacity of this sector to prevent monetary and financial crimes, including money laundering, according to the foreign ministry spokesperson. — VNS