Vietnam has slammed a Chinese unilateral fishing ban applicable in the East Sea, internationally known as South China Sea.
China’s Ministry of Agriculture on Monday issued a ban on fishing in a number of sea waters from May 1 to August 16, which includes the waters in the Gulf of Tonkin in the East Sea.
“Vietnam resolutely opposes and rejects the regulation issued by China,” Vietnam's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Le Hai Binh said in a statement Tuesday.
China’s move has seriously violated Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands and its territorial waters, Binh said.
Such regulation goes against international laws, further complicating the situation in the region, the spokesman said, adding that Vietnam has full legal grounds and historical evidence to prove its sovereignty over Hoang Sa Islands.
China has been issuing the so-called fishing ban in some waters, including the East Sea, every year since 1999, despite opposition from Vietnam and other countries in the region.
In 1974, taking advantage of the withdrawal of the American troops from the Vietnam War, China invaded Hoang Sa Islands. A brief but bloody naval battle with the forces of the then U.S.-backed Republic of Vietnam ensued.
Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands, the other hotspot in the region, is claimed in part by China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.