Foreign ministry declares China's Vietnamese waters surveys 'illegal'

By Vu Anh   June 6, 2024 | 06:19 am PT
Foreign ministry declares China's Vietnamese waters surveys 'illegal'
The survey vessel Hai Yang 26 of the Chinese navy. Photo courtesy of Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Vietnam has demanded that China stop its illegal East Sea surveys using its Hai Yang 26 vessel as the activities wholly violate Vietnamese sovereignty over said waters.

"Pertaining to the issue that the Chinese navy vessel has been conducting illegal activities in Vietnamese waters, Vietnam has discussed the issue with China on numerous occasions," said spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pham Thu Hang at a Thursday press meet.

Hang was responding to inquiries regarding the Chinese vessel caught performing illegal survey activities in Vietnam’s East Sea waters.

"Vietnam is deeply concerned and resolutely opposes these activities and demands that China immediately cease the illegal survey activities of the Hai Yang 26 vessel in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf, which has been established in accordance with United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea," Hang said.

She added Vietnam has requested that China not repeat similar illegal activities, emphasizing that the large northern neighbor must respect Vietnam’s sovereignty and jurisdictional maritime rights over sea waters in line with international law.

Vietnam also requested that China implement the agreements established by high-ranking leaders from both countries regarding the management and resolution of conflicts at sea. Vietnam asked its neighbor to continue helping maintain the development of bilateral relations between the two nations, thereby assisting with contributions to peace and stability at the South China Sea.

The Hai Yang 26 vessel has been operating in China’s Hainan area since late last month. It is China’s first vessel used exclusively for geological surveys and reef research. It maintains a crew of 34 people, and is capable of traveling 3,500 nautical miles without stopping.

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