Archive | March, 2019

Vietnam protests to China over South China Sea boat sinking – Channel NewsAsia

23 March 2019

China claims most of the resource-rich South China Sea, despite claims from Brunei, Vietnam and the Philippines AFP/TED ALJIBE

HANOI: Vietnam has lodged an official protest with China following the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat which was being chased by a Chinese maritime surveillance vessel in the disputed South China Sea, Vietnam said late on Thursday (Mar 21).

Vietnam and China have for years long been embroiled in a dispute over the potentially energy-rich stretch of waters, called the East Sea by Vietnam.

The fishing vessel was moored near Da Loi island in the Paracel archipelago on Mar 6 when a China Maritime Surveillance Vessel chased it and fired water cannon at it, Vietnam’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

The boat sank after hitting rocks while it was being chased. All five fishermen on board were rescued by another Vietnamese fishing boat, the ministry said.

A Vietnamese rescue agency said earlier that the Chinese vessel rammed the fishing boat.

“The Chinese vessel committed an act that violated Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Hoang Sa archipelago, threatened the lives and damaged the properties and the legitimate interests of Vietnamese fishermen,” the ministry said in the statement, referring to the Paracel islands by their Vietnamese name.

Vietnam had lodged a protest with China’s embassy in Hanoi and demanded that China deal strictly with its Maritime Surveillance agency to prevent similar incidents and to compensate fairly the fishermen for their losses.

In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the Paracel Islands were China’s and Vietnam must immediately stop illegal fishing activities in the vicinity.

The fishing boat had already struck a reef and sunk before the Chinese vessel arrived, he added.

“We hope the Vietnamese side can stop making things up.”

China claims 90 percent of the South China Sea, where it has steadily expanded military and other installations on artificial islands and reefs, unnerving the region and angering Washington.

In addition to Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have claims to parts of the sea.

Separately, the Vietnamese government on Friday denounced Taiwan’s military drills on and around Itu Aba, an island in the South China Sea, that Vietnam calls Ba Binh.

Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said the drills were “a serious violation of Vietnam’s sovereignty over the (Spratly) archipelago, threatening peace, stability, and maritime safety and security, stressing and complicating the situation in the East Sea.”

“Vietnam resolutely opposes (the drills) and demands that Taiwan not repeat similar actions,” Hang said in a statement on the government website.Source: Reuters/nc/ec

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South China Sea tensions at new high after Vietnamese boat rammed and sunk

08 March 2019

China has dramatically escalated tensions in one of the most hotly disputed places on the planet, reportedly sinking a vessel.

A 2015 aerial photo showing land reclamation works in the South China Sea. Picture: AFP/Ritchie B. TongoSource:AFP

Chinese Military Might

Hanoi Vietnam’s government claims that a Chinese vessel rammed and sank a Vietnamese fishing boat in disputed waters in the South China Sea.

The fishing boat was around 370 kilometres off Da Nang near Discovery Reef in the Paracel island chain on Wednesday when it was rammed by a Chinese vessel, the National Committee for Incident, Natural Disaster Response and Search and Rescue said in a statement.

The five Vietnamese men on board the fishing boat clung on to the sinking bow until they were rescued, the statement said.

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Vietnam’s government and state media have previously accused Chinese vessels of attacking Vietnamese fishing boats.

In April and May, more than 10 Vietnamese fishing boats were allegedly hit and robbed while fishing in the South China Sea, according to Vietnam’s Tuoi Tre newspaper.

China claims almost all of the South China Sea, including waters internationally recognised as Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone where Vietnam has sole fishing rights.

Greg Poling, a fellow with the Southeast Asia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, slammed China over the incident.

“A Chinese ship reportedly rams and sinks a Vietnamese fishing boat in the Paracels (again),” he said on Twitter.

“China’s neighbors have become so numb to the constant exercise of low-intensity violence and intimidation that it will warrant barely a mention in regional press.”

A photograph taken from the International Space Station appears to show China building on the reef in the Paracel Islands NASA

A photograph taken from the International Space Station appears to show China building on the reef in the Paracel Islands NASASource:Supplied

The incident came as Vietnam jailed 15 people for “causing public disorder” during anti-China protests.

Scores have been jailed in the wake of rare nationwide demonstrations in June 2018 that quickly turned violent in some areas as police struggled to quell the unrest.

On Thursday, 15 people were sentenced to between two and 3.5 years in jail by a court in southern Binh Thuan province, where police stations were ransacked and security vehicles destroyed.

State-run Vietnam News Agency said “the 15 defendants were shouting, instigating the crowd” and blocked traffic on a major highway for 15 hours, citing the official indictment.

“The jury board concluded that the defendants’ behaviour undermined security, order and social safety… so they need to be seriously punished,” VNA reported.

A court official confirmed the sentences and said several others are currently under investigation on similar charges, he told AFP, refusing to be named.

Last year’s unrest was sparked by a proposal by the government to establish several economic zones with 99-year leases in the country that protesters said were designed to cater to Chinese investors.

The draft bill made no mention of China – and the government backed off the lengthy lease terms – but it was not enough to prevent the demonstrations in several cities, including Hanoi and the southern commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City.

The bill has been shelved for now and officials have not said whether it may be revived.

The investment zones were aimed at attracting foreign cash to the fast-growing, export-oriented economy.

The one-party state has clocked glittering growth in the past decade, while maintaining a firm grip on power.


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