Obey international laws, Vietnam insists as China transgresses again

By Viet Anh   April 14, 2020 | 04:48 pm PT
Obey international laws, Vietnam insists as China transgresses again
Chinese oil survey vessel Haiyang Dizhi 8. Photo by the China Geological Survey.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman says Vietnam always monitors East Sea developments and insists that all nations comply with international laws.

Responding to a VnExpress question about reports that a Chinese oil survey vessel has returned to Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), Le Thi Thu Hang said Tuesday: "Vietnamese authorities always keep a close eye on all developments in the East Sea."

Citing data from Marine Traffic, a website that tracks shipping, Reuters reported Tuesday that the Chinese survey vessel, Haiyang Dizhi 8, used for offshore seismic surveys, had appeared again at 158 km (98 miles) off Vietnam’s coast, within Vietnam’s EEZ. It was accompanied by at least one Chinese coast guard vessel, the report said.

Hang said in a statement: "Vietnam demands that all nations follow regulations of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and international rules in all activities, contributing to building peace, stability and cooperation in the East Sea."

The East Sea is known internationally as the South China Sea.

In July last year, the Haiyang Dizhi 8 and its escort vessels had violated Vietnam’s EEZ and the continental shelf of Vietnam near the Vanguard Bank, occupying the area until August 7. The vessels returned to the water area on August 13 and stayed until October.

Vietnam repeatedly condemned the operations of the vessel and escorts as a violation of its sovereignty and demanded that they leave Vietnamese waters immediately.

The presence of the Chinese vessel last year drew strong international criticism, with leaders from many countries including the U.S. condemning it.

The news of the Haiyang Dizhi 8 returning to Vietnam’s EEZ comes amid intense campaign to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in Vietnam, as in most of the rest of the world.

It follows the recent sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat near Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracels) Islands in the East Sea this month, which Vietnam has strongly condemned and demanded compensation for.

Other countries have also expressed deep concern over the incident, with the U.S. State Department, Defense Department and several senators calling it a flagrant violation of international laws.

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