Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Le Hai Binh has insisted that all countries concerned not further complicate the East Vietnam Sea situation in the context of recent tensions between the U.S. and China over the sea-related issues.
Binh made the statement at a regular press briefing of the ministry in Hanoi on Thursday.
“We all know the East Vietnam Sea is a very important international maritime route. The maintenance of peace, stability and maritime and aviation security there is to ensure the interests of countries inside and outside the region,” he said.
“We therefore call on all countries concerned to contribute responsibly and actively to maintaining peace, stability, and maritime and aviation security in the East Vietnam Sea; to respect the sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction of coastal states in accordance with provisions of international law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea; and not to further complicate the situation,” the spokesman said.
In answering a reporter’s question about protecting Vietnamese fishermen following China’s illegal ban on fishing in the East Vietnam Sea from May 16 to August 1, Binh affirmed that the Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago is an integral part of the territory of Vietnam.
He added that the waters around Hoang Sa are a long-standing traditional fishing ground of Vietnamese fishermen.
“Vietnam’s competent agencies will strengthen management and control over Vietnamese fishermen’s operations in Vietnamese waters to timely handle any issues that may suddenly arise at sea,” Binh said.
“Vietnam has full legal foundations and historical evidence to assert its sovereignty in the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes. Any activities of other parties in these territories without the consent of Vietnam are illegal and null and void,” Binh said.
“Vietnam’s competent agencies are keeping a close watch on the activities of all parties in the East Vietnam Sea, including the location and operation of China’s Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig,” he added.
Regarding the news released by international media that Indonesia on May 20 sank a large Chinese fishing boat and 40 other vessels from other countries alleged to have illegitimately fished in the waters of Indonesia, Binh said Vietnam will verify the information.
The spokesman also expressed Vietnam’s point of view that Indonesia should pay attention to the concerns of other countries and satisfactorily deal with the problems related to fishing vessels and fishermen on the basis of international law, as well as the spirit of humane treatment toward fishers.