Vietnam has refuted the fishing ban that China has unilaterally imposed from May to mid-August in the South China Sea.
|Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang of Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Photo: Baoquocte|
“Vietnam rejects China's unilateral decision. In the current international and regional situation , Vietnam demands China not complicate the situation in the East Sea," Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang of the Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, referring to the East Sea as the internationally-known South China Sea.
Early this month, the China Coast Guard (CCG) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs announced a three-and-a-half-month ban on waters covering China’s Fujian and Guangdong provinces, which includes Vietnam’s Paracel Islands, parts of the Gulf of Tonkin, and the Scarborough Shoal, formerly administered by the Philippines.
“Vietnam has sufficient legal basis and historical evidence to assert its sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands that are in line with international law. Vietnam, as a coastal country and member of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), has sovereignty rights and jurisdiction rights over its waters that are stipulated in and allowed by the Convention,” Hang stated.
On May 4, the Vietnam Fishing Society protested the ban that it called absurd, calling for increasing sea patrols to protect local fishermen in Vietnam’s territorial waters.
Manila also protested the ban, saying China has no right and moral ascendancy to declare a fishing ban in the area, Filipino authorities said. Beijing threatened to “arrest illegal fishers from Vietnam and the Philippines,” Businessmirror reported.
The fishing ban covers an area that is “flagrantly beyond China’s lawful jurisdiction and deep within its neighbors’ exclusive economic zones,” RFI cited Hunter Stires, a fellow with the U.S. Naval War College’s John B. Hattendorf Center for Maritime Historical Research.