Vietnam strongly opposed China’s acts on June 9 in harassing a ship conducting seismic surveys in Vietnam’s territorial waters in the East Sea and asked the Chinese side to stop repeating violations.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga made the protest at a regular press conference in Hanoi on June 9.

She reported to the media that at 6am on June 9, a Chinese fishing boat code-named 62226, supported by two Chinese fishery administration vessels code-named 311 and 303, deliberately hit the survey cables of Viking II, a ship hired by the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group, when it was conducting seismic surveys at Lot 136/03 at a location 6 degrees 47’5” north latitude and 109 degrees 17’5” east longitude on Vietnam’s continental shelf.

The Chinese fishing boat 62226 trailed a cable-cutting device into the vicinity of ship Viking II and became trapped in the network of underwater cables in use by the Vietnamese vessel, despite the Vietnamese side letting off a warning flare. As a result, the ship Viking II could not operate normally.

Then, the two Chinese fishery administration vessels joined with other Chinese fishing boats to rescue fishing boat 62226.

The seismic survey area being studied by ship Viking II is well within Vietnam’s 200 nautical mile continental shelf, and completely belongs to Vietnam’s area of sovereignty, in line with the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the spokesperson affirmed.

"The act by those fishing boats and fishery administration vessels of China was absolutely intentional, well designed and well prepared,” Nga emphasised.

She added, “It seriously violates Vietnam’s sovereignty and jurisdictional rights, runs counter to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and goes against the common perception of senior leaders of the two countries on maintaining peace and stability in the East Sea, while causing significant economic losses for the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group.”

The incident took place just two weeks after a Chinese marine surveillance vessel on May 26 cut the exploration cables of ship Binh Minh 02 at Lot 148 in Vietnam’s continental shelf, bringing continuous tension to the East Sea situation, Nga said.

“China’s systematic acts were aimed at turning the region without disputes into one with disputes, and carry out its ambition to make China’s nine-dash line claim a reality, Nga said, stressing, “This is something that Vietnam cannot accept.”

“The Vietnamese side strongly opposes China’s aforementioned act and demands the Chinese side immediately cease all acts violating Vietnam’s national sovereignty and jurisdiction rights to its continental shelf and exclusive economic zone and not repeat them, and provide compensation for damages caused to the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group,” she said.

Later the same day, a Vietnam Foreign Ministry representative met with a representative from the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi to protest the act and affirm Vietnam’s stance, Nga said./.