Respect Vietnam's maritime economy, China told

By Vu Hoang   November 3, 2019 | 08:35 pm PT
Respect Vietnam's maritime economy, China told
Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (L) and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang at the 35th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, November 3, 2019. Photo by Vietnam Government Portal.
China should respect Vietnam's legitimate marine economic activities without interference, the Vietnamese PM has told his Chinese counterpart.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc made the request of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on the sidelines of the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, on Sunday.

China should respect normal marine economic activities that Vietnam conducts in accordance with international regulations, Phuc said.

A statement released by the Foreign Ministry also said the PM reiterated that Vietnam was determined to protect its sovereignty, territory and waters in line with the law.

The two nations should handle all of their disputes, including clashes related to fisheries and fishers in the East Sea, known internationally as South China Sea, with peaceful measures in accordance with international laws, such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, to which Vietnam and China are both signatories, he said.

The PM also suggested that the two countries maintain control over any disputes they have and avoid letting them affect their bilateral relationship.

Vietnam and China should also work to ensure stability in the region and continue to carry out agreements on basic rules to solve problems in their waters, he said.

The Vietnamese PM said Vietnam respects and wants to strengthen its relations with China.

For his part, Li said China also wants to control maritime dissent effectively, restrain them from affecting the overall bilateral relationship, and is willing to enhance cooperation and promote relations with Vietnam.

Speaking at the ASEAN Summit, Phuc said Vietnam will continue to uphold international laws in the East Sea to ensure peace and stability in the region.

"Recently there have been serious violations of international law in Vietnam’s waters and regional waters. Although the incidents have ended, they have left profound lessons for ASEAN."

He said the violations indicate that security and stability in the sea is very fragile, and that firm commitments of all countries in the region are needed to ensure such incidents would not recur.

Since July, Chinese oil survey vessel Haiyang Dizhi 8 and escorts have repeatedly trespassed into Vietnam's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf in the south of the East Sea.

For several years now, Vietnamese fishermen have been chased after or mugged by Chinese ships and fishers in Vietnamese waters.

At the 18th ASEAN-China Senior Officials Meeting on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (SOM-DOC) last month, Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung said China’s sovereignty infringement in the East Sea was having negative impacts on regional peace and security.

"Complicated developments" in the East Sea have left Vietnam’s sovereignty and jurisdiction rights over the waters seriously violated, he said.

He also said China’s behavior in the area has created difficulties for negotiations on the ASEAN-China Code of Conduct (COC) for the South China Sea.

The three-day ASEAN Summit ends Monday. After the summit's closing ceremony, there will be a formal ceremony where Thailand will hand over the ASEAN chairmanship to Vietnam.

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