Vietnam tells China to contain conflicts at sea

By Huyen Le   August 1, 2019 | 03:51 pm PT
Vietnam tells China to contain conflicts at sea
Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh at the 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, August 1, 2019. Photo by Reuters.
Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh called for efforts to avoid complicating the situation on the East Sea as he met his Chinese counterpart Thursday.

Vietnam and China need to maintain peace, stability and control conflicts well, Minh, also a Deputy Prime Minister, said as he met with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand.

The two neighbors should not conduct activities that would add tension to the area, and should solve all disputes with peaceful measures on the basis of international laws, including the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea, Minh said.

In response, Wang said China values its relationship with Vietnam and strives to maintain the two countries' amicable relationship, while agreeing to exchange opinions and reasonably resolve issues in the relationship.

The 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting, which lasts from Monday to Sunday, has seen officials expressing concerns about the recent events on the East Sea, internationally known as the South China Sea.

ASEAN foreign ministers and partners have stressed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, safety and freedom of navigation on the waterway, as well as following international law and resolving issues through peaceful methods, without escalating tension.

For almost a month now, Chinese oil survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 and its escorts have been operating near Vietnam's Vanguard Bank in the southern area of the waterway, infringing upon the Vietnam's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf.

Vietnam's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said Vietnam has contacted China on multiple occasions via different channels, delivered diplomatic notes to oppose China's violations and demanded that China stop all unlawful activities, withdraw its ships from Vietnamese waters and respect Vietnam's sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its waters.

Minh denounced the activities at the ASEAN meeting on Wednesday, calling them "illegal" and "serious violations" of Vietnam's sovereignty and jurisdiction.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday also criticized China for its "coercion" of Southeast Asian neighbors in disputes over the South China Sea, while urging regional allies to also speak out against such actions from China.

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