South China Sea: Vietnam opposes China’s fishing ban

China Coast Guard ship in the South China Sea

The Vietnamese government on April 29, 2021, officially rejected the fishing ban that China has just issued in the waters surrounding China, including the East Sea (South China Sea).

During a regular press conference in Hanoi, the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Spokesman Doan Khac Viet said that the fishing ban that China just issued on April 27 infringed Vietnam’s sovereignty in the Hoang Sa (Paracels), in violation of international law, at the same time going against the agreements between the two countries.

According to Mr. Viet, Vietnam has full legal basis and historical evidence asserting sovereignty over the two archipelagos of Hoang Sa and the Truong Sa (Spratlys), as well as legal rights to the waters of Vietnam which are determined under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982.

Vietnam’s objection is aimed at a fishing ban that China has just issued, applied in the waters: Bohai, Yellow Sea, East China Sea, and part of the East Sea from the 12th parallel to the north. The effective time of the ban is from May 1 to September 16, 2021.

For many years, Beijing has repeatedly issued fishing bans, under the pretext of protecting natural resources. The problem is that the ban covers the waters of neighbors that China claims to them, and is always opposed.

According to Mr. Doan Khac Viet, the protection of biological resources should be carried out in accordance with relevant regulations of UNCLOS, and must not infringe upon the sovereignty and jurisdiction rights of other countries concerned.

The Chinese news agency Xinhua quoted Chinese Coast Guard forces as threatening to increase patrols and more closely monitor the fishing vessels.

The threat is made in the context that China has just introduced a new Coast Guard Law, which allows its coast guard to use force, including firing on foreign ships deemed to be non-compliance of China.

China has an additional maritime law to impose sovereignty

In addition, on April 29, the Chinese National Assembly also approved an amendment law that increases the powers of maritime safety authorities.

According to Japanese news agency Kyodo, the Standing Committee of the National Assembly of China has approved a draft amendment to the Law on Maritime Safety in China, which will take effect from September 1 here.

Based on this new law, the Department of Maritime Affairs, under the Ministry of Transport of China, has the right to order foreign ships to leave waters that China claims to be territorial sea if judging that such vessel may pose a security threat. The law also allows preventing foreign ships from entering waters that China considers theirs if they are not in a harmless way under international law.

According to Kyodo, the law mentioned above is raising concerns about the rising tensions between China and its neighbors in the South China Sea as well as in other waters in the region. (Translated)


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