Tuesday, 17 Sep 2019

Vietnam determined to protect sovereignty after China survey ship intrudes Vietnamese waters again

Updated at Saturday, 17 Aug 2019, 08:31
The Hanoitimes - Vietnam demands the immediate withdrawal of China`s vessels, calling Chinese activities seriously violate Vietnamese sovereignty.
Vietnam has firmly announced that its forces will do by all means to protect its sovereignty in the South China Sea after China once again challenges its territorial integrity in the South China Sea.​
Spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Photo: MOFA
Spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Photo: MOFA
“Vietnam’s forces are continuing all measures to protect sovereignty and jurisdiction rights guided by the Vietnamese and international law,” Spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has affirmed following the return of a Chinese survey ship and escorts to Vietnamese waters. 

On August 13, China’s Haiyang Dizhi 8 and a fleet of coast guard ships returned to Vietnam’s waters. 

“Vietnam strongly protests China’s violation, demanding immediate withdrawal,” the Vietnamese spokeswoman said, noting that “The area is totally under Vietnam’s sovereignty and jurisdiction stipulated in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982.”

“Vietnam advocates peace and stability in the South China Sea and the settlement of all disputes in peaceful manner as well as attaches the importance to the relationship with China but the country also attempts to protect its legitimate rights,” Hang said in a statement released on Friday [August 16].

Vietnam calls for active contributions to the maintenance of peace and stability in the South China Sea from concerned parties and the international community, Hang said. 

The spokeswoman said Vietnam has made repeated demand in talks with Chinese sides. 

On August 13, Reuters cited website Marine Traffic that tracks vessel movements that a Chinese survey ship had returned to Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the South China Sea, stirring again concerns over a month-long standoff between the two neighboring nations.

The return is less than a week after Chinese Haiyang Dizhi 8 left the area which is Vietnam’s Bai Tu Chinh (Vanguard Bank) where the Southeast Asian country has been conducting oil operations for years.

Haiyang Dizhi 8 first entered Vietnam's EEZ and continental shelf in early July with coast guard escorts and appeared to conduct a seismic survey of waters which are believed to be rich of natural resources as the US challenges China’s maritime claims.

The Chinese ship and escorts had been harassing operations at Vietnamese oil block where a rig leased by Russian oil giant Rosneft has been drilling, Reuters said basing on data from international institutes.

The survey ship, under Vietnam’s strong protest and international criticism, mostly from Washington, left the area on August 7. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at an ASEAN forum held early August criticized Chinese “coercion” in the South China Sea.

After it left the area, the survey ship docked at Vietnam’s Da Chu Thap (Fiery Cross Reef) -- which is now controlled by China -- a man-made island in Vietnam's Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands.
Linh Pham
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