Vietnam requests China to respect Gulf of Tonkin delimitation agreement

By Vu Anh, Nguyen Tien   March 14, 2024 | 03:13 am PT
Vietnam requests China to respect Gulf of Tonkin delimitation agreement
A Vietnamese fishing boat in the Gulf of Tonkin. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen
Vietnam on Thursday asked China to respect and abide by the Gulf of Tonkin delimitation agreement signed in 2000, as China announced the new demarcation of a baseline at the gulf.

"Vietnam asks that China respect and abide by the agreement on the delimitation of the territorial sea, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of the two countries in the Gulf of Tonkin, signed in 2000, and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)," spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pham Thu Hang said at a press meet.

Hang was responding to an inquiry regarding China on March 1 announcing the demarcation of a baseline in the north of the Gulf of Tonkin, in accordance with a law issued in 1992.

In its statement, the Chinese government used a new baseline, connected by seven basepoints, to announce its "territorial sea" at the Gulf of Tonkin. These basepoints were not included among the 49 basepoints that China announced in May 1996 to determine the width of its territorial sea.

"Vietnam has been and will continue to discuss our position with China on this matter in the spirit of friendship, understanding and mutual respect," Hang said, adding that Vietnam reserves its legal rights and interests in accordance with international law.

"Vietnam believes that coastal countries need to abide by the UNCLOS when establishing the territorial baseline used to calculate the width of the terrorial waters and to ensure that it does not affect the lawful rights and interests of other countries, including the freedom of navigation, and the freedom of passage through straits used for international maritime activities in accordance with UNCLOS."

Vietnam and China both border the Gulf of Tonkin. The two countries signed the Gulf of Tonkin delimitation agreement in 2000, which took effect in 2004. The agreement determined the two countries’ territorial seas, exclusive economic zones and continental shelves within the gulf.

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