HA NOI — Viet Nam strongly opposed China's acts on June 9 when Chinese ships harassed a Vietnamese vessel conducting seismic surveys in Viet Nam's territorial waters in the East Sea and asked China to put an end to repeated violations.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga made the protest at a regular press conference in Ha Noi yesterday. She reported to the media that at 6am yesterday, a Chinese fishing boat code-named 62226, supported by two Chinese fishery administration vessels code-named 311 and 303, deliberately hit the survey cables of Viking II, a ship hired by the Viet Nam National Oil and Gas Group, while it was conducting seismic surveys at Lot 136/03 at a location of 6 degrees 47'5" north latitude and 109 degrees 17'5" east longitude on Viet Nam's continental shelf.
The Chinese fishing boat 62226 trailed a cable-cutting device in the water and became entwined in a network of underwater cables being used by the Vietnamese vessel, despite the Vietnamese side letting off a warning flare. As a result, the Viking II could not operate normally.
The two Chinese fishery administration vessels were then joined by other Chinese fishing boats to rescue fishing boat 62226.
The seismic survey area being studied by the Viking II was well within Viet Nam's 200 nautical mile continental shelf, and lies within Viet Nam's area of sovereignty, in line with the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the spokesperson affirmed.
"The act was absolutely intentional, well designed and well prepared," Nga emphasised.
She added, "It seriously violated Viet Nam's sovereignty and jurisdictional rights, and runs counter to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC). It also goes against the common perception of senior leaders of the two countries on maintaining peace and stability in the East Sea, while causing significant economic losses for the Viet Nam National Oil and Gas Group."
The incident took place just two weeks after a Chinese marine surveillance vessel on May 26 cut the exploration cables of the Binh Minh 02 over Viet Nam's continental shelf, causing tensions to rise over the East Sea situation, she said
"China's systematic acts were aimed at turning an undisputed region into one of dispute to carry out its ambition to make China's nine-dash line claim a reality," Nga said. "This is something that Viet Nam cannot accept."
"The Vietnamese side strongly opposes China's aforementioned acts and demands the Chinese side immediately cease all acts violating Viet Nam's national sovereignty and jurisdictional rights to its continental shelf and exclusive economic zone, and provide compensation for damages caused to the Viet Nam National Oil and Gas Group," she said.
Later the same day, a Viet Nam Foreign Ministry representative met with a representative from the Chinese Embassy in Ha Noi to protest against the act and affirm Viet Nam's stance, Nga said. — VNS