Vietnam rejects China’s “unilateral decision” to ban fishing in the South China Sea from May 1 to Aug 16, Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Thi Thu Hang said in a statement posted on the government’s website yesterday.
Vietnam has sovereignty over its waters as defined by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Ms Hang said.
“Vietnam asks China not to further complicate the situation in the South China Sea,” she said.
Answering reporters’ queries on the issue yesterday, she also reiterated that Vietnam has sufficient historical and legal evidence affirming its sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos in accordance with international law.
The Vietnam Fisheries Society had earlier this week asked the government to take “strong action” against China’s fishing ban.
Last month, Vietnam charged a Chinese marine surveillance ship with sinking a Vietnamese fishing boat near the contested Paracel Islands.
China claims about 80 per cent of the South China Sea, which is believed to have valuable oil and gas deposits. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have competing claims.
The South China Sea branch of China Coast Guard had announced that the annual summer fishing moratorium started at noon on May 1 in the waters north to latitude 12 deg north of the South China Sea, with the coast guard and fishery authorities launching law enforcement work.
More than 50,000 fishing boats will suspend operations during the 3½-month moratorium.
The ban is part of China’s efforts to promote sustainable marine fishery development and improve marine ecology, the coast guard authority added.