Vietnam asks Indonesia to reconsider destroying illegal fishing boats

By Khanh Lynh   January 26, 2018 | 06:32 pm PT
Vietnam asks Indonesia to reconsider destroying illegal fishing boats
Malaysian and Vietnamese fishing boats are destroyed for illegal fishing by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, police and navy, in Batam, Riau Islands, Indonesia April 5, 2016. Photo by Reuters/M N Kanwa /Antara Foto.
Indonesia has destroyed hundreds of foreign illegal vessels since 2014, including many Vietnamese boats.

Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said he hoped Indonesia would reconsider its policy of destroying foreign boats caught fishing illegally at a meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo in India on Friday.

The controversial policy, which has been enforced since Widodo became president in 2014, is part of Indonesia's robust attempts to tackle the country's long-standing issue of illegal fishing. It has resulted in more than 300 boats being destroyed, many of which were from Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and China.

At the meeting, Phuc also thanked Indonesia for its help in returning arrested Vietnamese fishermen home. The prime minister expressed his hope that this issue will continue to be tackled in a friendly, humane way that helps unite ASEAN and in accordance with the strategic partnership between the two countries.

The two leaders agreed to speed up the implementation of agreements reached during Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong's visit to Indonesia last August. Vietnam and Indonesia will accordingly strive to reach bilateral trade of $10 billion and implement the Joint Vision Declaration on Defense Cooperation for 2017-2020.

The two countries also plan to establish mechanisms for policy dialogues, information sharing and training cooperation,while focusing on the early completion of the delimitation of economic zones at sea.

Hundreds of Vietnamese fishermen have been arrested for illegal fishing in recent years in the waters of nearby countries, including Brunei, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Indonesia released 690 Vietnamese fishermen detained for illegal fishing in its waters last June, followed by another 239 in October. However, their boats were seized and destroyed.

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