Fishing boats in Hai Binh commune of Tinh Gia district, Thanh Hoa province of Vietnam (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam adamantly opposes and rejects China’s unilateral ban on fishing in the East Sea from May 1 to August 16, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang told the media at a regular press conference on May 4.

She elaborated that “Vietnam has sufficient legal foundation and historical evidence testifying to its sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago as well as the legitimate rights over Vietnam’s sea areas defined as in line with the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).”

China’s ban violated Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa archipelago as well as Vietnam’s rights and legitimate interests in its sea areas. That action also infringed international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS and relevant international legal documents, and ran counter to the spirit and wording of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) signed by ASEAN and China in 2002.

The fishing ban neither suits the development trend in the two countries’ relations nor benefits peace and stability in the region, Hang stressed.

In response to a question about the East Sea issue in the Chairman’s Statement of the 30th ASEAN Summit in the Philippines, the spokeswoman said the statement highlighted ASEAN’s consistent common viewpoint on the East Sea issue.

It reaffirmed that all countries are responsible for maintaining peace, stability, security and freedom of navigation and over-flight in and above the East Sea. They must exercise self-restraint, not threaten or threaten to use force, fully respect legal and diplomatic processes, peacefully resolve disputes by peaceful means on the basis of international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, fully implement the DOC, and work towards a Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea, Hang noted.

She also said “Maintaining peace, stability, security and safety of navigation and over-flight in and above the East Sea is the interest and also a common responsibility of all countries both inside and outside of the region,” when replying to queries on Chinese-US ties and relations between China and some regional countries.

The diplomat stressed that countries need to together protect and realise this common target by persistently settling the East Sea issue through peaceful measures on the basis of international law and complying with diplomatic and legal processes.

She emphasised Vietnam’s policy of independence, autonomy, multilateralization and diversification of foreign relations, active and proactive integration into the world, and being a friend and a trustworthy partner of all countries around the globe. 

“Vietnam supports countries’ cooperation for peace, stability and prosperity in the region and the world,” the spokesperson said.-VNA