Vietnam: Fishing Boat Attacked, Sunk By Chinese Vessel Skip to main content

Vietnam: Fishing Boat Attacked, Sunk By Chinese Vessel

SAIGON: A Chinese vessel attacked and sank a Vietnamese fishing boat in disputed waters off Vietnam’s coast, Vietnam’s foreign ministry said.

“It sank,” ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh said of the Vietnamese vessel.

“It was rammed by a Chinese boat.”

The 10 fishermen on board were rescued by other Vietnamese boats after the sinking yesterday around 17 nautical miles from a Chinese oil rig located near the contested Paracel Islands, Vietnam News reported.

Vietnamese ship DNa 90152 operating out of Danang was encircled by 40 Chinese fishing vessels in what Vietnam regards as its exclusive economic zone, the newspaper said.

China’s placement of the rig off the coast of Vietnam set off violent anti-China protests in Vietnam this month, as well as clashes between the two nations’ coast guard, with water cannons used and accusations of boats being rammed. China says the rig is in its own territory and that it has long carried out exploration work in the area.

China’s actions violate international law and threaten peace, security and freedom of navigation, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said in a speech May 22 in Manila. Tensions in the South China Sea risk disrupting the flow of goods, Dung said, with the waters carrying some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

Dung said Vietnam will decide soon what legal course if any to take, Philippine President Benigno Aquino said, citing their conversations.

China’s President Xi Jinping is expanding the country’s naval reach to back its claims to the South China Sea that are based on the “nine-dash line” map, first published in 1947. That claim extends hundreds of miles south from China’s Hainan Island to equatorial waters off the coast of Borneo. China and Vietnam both claim the Paracel Islands, and Association of Southeast Asian members Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines have claims to other areas in the South China Sea.

Asean leaders meeting in Myanmar on May 11 issued a statement expressing concern about South China Sea tensions, without referencing China directly. The grouping has maintained a policy of neutrality on the disputes.

“China will have one version of the events, Vietnam will have one version of the events. We don’t need to get into that,” Singapore’s Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam told reporters in Myanmar on May 10.

Asean leaders have called for progress on a code of conduct with China that would seek to preserve freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. Talks have made little headway since China agreed in July to start discussions, with China introducing fishing rules in January requiring foreign vessels to seek permission before entering waters off its southern coast. 
— Bloomberg 

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