Hanoi protests Beijing over sinking Vietnamese fishing boat in South China Sea
Linh Pham The Hanoi Times Sat, Apr 4, 2020
Vietnam’s fishing boat operating within Vietnamese waters. Photo: VnExpress
Vietnam demands China to investigate the case and compensate the victims.
HANOI – Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has lodged a dispatch protesting China after a Vietnamese fishing boat was ranned and sunk by a Chinese maritimes surveillance vessel in Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) islands in the South China Sea.
Hanoi demands Beijing to investigate the case and strictly punish the enforcement staff and compensate the victims who are eight crew members from Vietnam’s central province of Quang Ngai.
Fishing boar QNg 90617 TS capsized after being rammed by a Chinese vessel near Hoang Sa (Paracel) islands on Thursday morning [April 2], according to Nguyen Van Hai, a local official from Quang Ngai province.
Hai said China’s ships hit and sank the fishing boat that was operating within Vietnamese waters before “capturing and detaining the crew” on a nearby island in Hoang Sa, according to the Vietnam Fisheries Society.
Two other Vietnamese fishing boats attempted to rescue the eight fishermen, but they were also detained with their ships on the island.
China released the eight fishermen and the two Vietnamese rescue boats on Thursday evening.
Local authorities are waiting for them to dock back in Vietnam on Sunday to hear a full report on the case before sending their complaints to higher authorities, Hai said.
In a statement released Friday, Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang of the MOFA said that Chinese vessel has violated Vietnamese sovereignty, causing damage and threatening lives of fishermen.
She noted that China’s activities go against the two countries’ consensus on humane treatment towards fishermen, against agreement on fundamental guidelines in the Vietnam-China sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) as well.
Chinese actions have complicated the situation in the South China Sea and harmed the bilateral ties and the maintenance of the regional peace, stability, and cooperation, the spokesperson emphasized.
Over the past years, Chinese vessels have attacked Vietnamese fishing boats dozens of times with a few incidents corroborated by dramatic videos posted online.
Vietnam’s Hoang Sa Islands were occupied by China in the aftermath of a 1974 invasion that killed dozens of Vietnamese.