Vietnam Demands China Withdraw Fishing Vessels From Truong Sa Archipelago
|Hundreds of Chinese vessels anchor near the Bai Ba Dau (Whitsun Reef) in the Spratly archipelago of Vietnam (Photo: Maxar)|
Vietnam demanded that China withdraw its fishing vessels from Sinh Ton island cluster of the Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago and respect Vietnam's sovereignty. Deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pham Thu Hang made the statement on Nov. 4, according to VOV.
Hang was commenting on satellite image information showing that the Chinese fleet was present again around Sinh Ton island cluster in the Spratly archipelago of Vietnam, even up to 150 vehicles at times.
“As repeatedly affirmed, Vietnam has full legal foundations and historical evidence affirming its sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos in accordance with international law. The nation is entitled to enjoy its sovereignty, sovereign right and jurisdiction over its territorial waters defined in conformity with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982),” Hang said.
According to the deputy spokesperson, Vietnam resolutely and persistently takes measures in accordance with international law to protect those legal and legitimate rights.
Chinese ships operating within the territorial waters of Sinh Ton island cluster in the Spratly archipelago of Vietnam has seriously violated the nation's sovereignty and the provisions of the UNCLOS 1982 while running counter to the spirit of the Declaration of the Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), Hang added.
|Deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pham Thu Hang. (Photo: NLD)|
The Philippines Coast Guard announced earlier that some 220 vessels, believed to be manned by Chinese maritime militia personnel, were seen operating near a reef in the South China Sea on March 7. The vessels kept the light on overnight, but have not engaged in any fishing activities despite the convenient weather.
Vietnamese foreign ministry voiced against the docking of Chinese ships in March.
“When international outcry or patrols by other claimants convince them to leave...they disperse to nearby reefs for a time. But their overall numbers in the Spratlys remain consistent,” the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said about Chinese fishing vessels in its latest report released Oct. 17.
"The activities of Chinese ships in the waters off Grierson Reef seriously violate Vietnam’s sovereignty and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)," Foreign Affairs Ministry spokewoman Le Thi Thu Hang said.
The AMTI said the Chinese ships at Iroquois Reef, which were 40 to 50 meters long, were no more than 5 through early June. It increased to 15 by June 15 and doubled to an average of 30 in late July. The average number of vessels fell back to 15 in August before rising again to 30 in late September, it said. The AMTI noted a drop of Chinese ships after the Sept. 30 diplomatic protest: 35 vessels were visible in satellite imagery on Oct. 2 but only 5 were present by Oct. 17, according to Inquirer.
The Philippines has increased its patrols in the West Philippine Sea early this year in response to the Chinese incursions. The Philippines early this week protested China’s series of unlawful challenges against Philippine authorities patrolling the sea.
"These provocative acts threaten the peace, good order, and security of the South China Sea and run contrary to China's obligations under international law," the foreign ministry of the Philippines said in October.
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