Vietnam resolutely opposes Chinese new fishing ban


Recently, China Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) once again pronounced its new stricter fishing moratorium to apply in the South China Sea from May 1st to August 16th 2017. This new fishing moratorium actually continued the old fishing ban, which was illegally and unilaterally introduced by China since 1999 in the South China Sea. The geographical scope of the fishing ban remains the same, encompassing Bohai Sea, Yellow Sea, East China Sea and South China Sea north of the 12th degrees north latitude (including the Gulf of Tonkin).
On May 4th, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lê Thị Thu Hằng said in a statement that Vietnam has sufficient legal ground and historical evidence affirming its sovereignty over Hoàng Sa (Paracel) archipelago as well as legitimate rights over its waters in line with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Vietnam resolutely opposes and rejects the regulation issued by China.
The Vietnamese Foreign Ministry has many times condemned this move as a serious violation of the nation’s sovereignty. China's unilateral action seriously violates Vietnam's sovereignty and goes against international law.
China’s fishing ban is a threat to stability and the rule-based order in the region for four following reasons:
Firstly, China’s fishing ban violates the sovereignty and sovereign rights of Viet Nam. In its statement, Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokesperson stated that the moratorium seriously "infringes upon Viet Nam's sovereignty over Hoang Sa (the Paracels), Viet Nam's legal rights and interests in its waters and violates international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and relevant international legal documents".
Viet Nam has for a long time claimed sovereignty over the Paracels based on its well-founded legal and historical evidence. China unilaterally issued the moratorium applied for the area around the Paracels, therefore, infringing Viet Nam's sovereignty over this archipelago and maritime entitlements stipulated by UNCLOS.
Secondly, China's moratorium also violates UNCLOS 1982. According to Article 57 of UNCLOS, a coastal state is entitled to 200 nautical miles of Exclusive Economic Zone measured from its baseline. Article 56 of UNCLOS clearly states that in the exclusive economic zone, a coastal state has "sovereign rights" to explore, exploit and manage the natural resources of the living and non living resources and the "jurisdiction" to govern the "protection and preservation of the marine environment". China's fishing moratorium applied in the South China Sea area to 12th degree North latitude, which stretches beyond 200 nautical miles of its coast and up to 600 miles.  Therefore, much of this area is beyond China's sovereign rights and jurisdiction and violates Vietnam's Exclusive Economic Zone. Only Viet Nam has the mandate under UNCLOS to issue such kind of moratorium to protect and preserve the fishing resources in its own Exclusive Economic Zone.
Thirdly, China’s fishing moratorium violates the Arbitral Award of 12 July 2016 relating to the case between the Philippines and China over the South China Sea disputes. The award states that China's fishing moratorium applied in "most parts of the South China Sea" and intended to apply in the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone north of 12-degree N latitude violates Article 56 of UNCLOS which accords sovereign rights to the Philippines for its "living resources of its exclusive economic zone". This year’s fishing ban to be applied in the Philippines' Exclusive Economic Zone, therefore, disrespects the Arbitral Award.  
Finally, China's fishing moratorium violates the Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and undermines the progress in the making of a Code of Conduct (COC). ASEAN and China signed the DOC in November 2002, in which all parties pledged to keep the status quo and not to conduct activities that may complicate the ongoing disputes. The fishing moratorium creates new disagreements and adds complexity to the ongoing disputes in the South China Sea at a time when ASEAN and China are making efforts to achieve a framework for COC by mid-2017.
China's annual fishing ban in the South China Sea contradicts UNCLOS, the recent ruling of the South China Sea arbitration tribunal, and the DOC. It also undermines relationships between the neighboring states bordering the South China Sea. Dismantling this illegal fishing ban will be a way for China to become a benign and responsible state, which complies with international law and norms, and works toward enhanced peace and security in the region./.
Reference note: The Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague ruled last year that China’s claims were invalid and its activities in the disputed territories illegal. The Chinese government vowed to disregard the ruling, deeming it the result of a conspiracy between Japan (which is not a claimant in the South China Sea) and the United States. Since then, China has continued to construct artificial islands and install military assets in Vietnamese and Philippine waters in the region.
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All comments [ 1 ]

Gentle Moon 13/5/17 09:57

China has many filthy and wicked ways to achieve its purposes, Vietnam and other nations in the region need to be alert and unite to cope with it.

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