Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denied the Chinese side’s accusations that the Vietnamese maritime militia threatened its security and defense forces, affirming Vietnam’s peaceful defense policy.
At the ministry’s regular press conference on the afternoon of April 29, Deputy Spokesperson Doan Khac Viet said in response to the information that China Coast Guard announced the implementation of the fishing ban took effect from May 1 on the sea areas which include part of the Gulf of Tonkin and the Hoang Sa (Paracels) under the sovereignty of Vietnam.
Mr. Viet said that Vietnam has full legal grounds and historical evidence asserting sovereignty over Paracels and the Truong Sa (Spratlys) as well as the legal rights to Vietnam’s waters enshrined in the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
“Viet Nam believes that measures to conserve biological resources should be carried out in accordance with UNCLOS, and must not prejudice the sovereignty or jurisdiction of the sea of other countries,” stressed Mr. Doan Khac Viet.
Accordingly, Vietnam protests and resolutely reject this unilateral decision of the Chinese side.
Viet analyzed that China’s regulation infringes Vietnam’s sovereignty over Paracels, violates international law including UNCLOS, and goes contrary to the content of the statement on the conduct of the parties in the South China Sea (DOC), contrary to the agreement on the basic principles that guide the settlement of maritime problems between Vietnam and China.
Naval and Merchant Ships
In another development, recently, China’s Naval and Merchant Ships Journal has published information that Vietnam’s marine militia forces are operating near the Hainan Islands, Paracels, and Spratlys and threatening China’s maritime law enforcement and defense security. This agency also suggested that the Chinese government should send more coast guards and strengthen law enforcement with Vietnamese fishing ships in these waters.
Talking about this information, Viet emphasized “We reject false information about Vietnam’s maritime militia and self-defense force. Vietnam implements a peace defense policy, and according to the militia and self-defense law in 2019, the militia and self-defense of the sea are a part of the Vietnamese militia and self-defense force, with the function of protecting the sovereignty of the sea and ensuring national security, order, and safety. Marine self-defense militia and other functional forces operating at sea absolutely obey the Vietnamese laws and international laws, especially UNCLOS.”
With information on China’s reinforcing the Tan Sa base on Hainan Island which can be used to enhance its naval power in the South China Sea, Viet reiterated that Vietnam’s stance on the South China Sea issue is clear and consistent, that all activities at sea should be conducted on the basis of UNCLOS, respect the sovereignty and jurisdiction of coastal states, in the waters established in accordance with the convention.