THE Ministry of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) expressed its deep concern over the reported sinking on April 3, 2020 of a Vietnamese fishing vessel in the South China Sea, even as it asked “for patience and good behavior from each government; and to extend this tolerance and behavior to people under our respective jurisdictions. ”
In a statement, the agency said, âThe FDFA values ââthe maintenance of peace and stability in the South China Sea and notes that such incidents undermine the potential for a truly deep and trusting regional relationship between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China. “
Hinting at an incident in 2019 when a Chinese vessel struck a Philippine fishing boat, sinking it and leaving fishermen at the mercy of the sea until a Vietnamese party arrived and saved them, the DFA has added: âOur own similar experience has shown how much trust in a friendship is lost; and how much confidence has been created by Vietnam’s humanitarian act to directly save the lives of our Filipino fishermen. We have not stopped and will not stop thanking Vietnam. It is in this spirit that we publish this declaration of solidarity.
The Vietnamese Foreign Ministry (MoFA) lodged an official protest with Beijing, accusing the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) of using one of its ships to “sink and sink” a Vietnamese fishing boat near the ‘one of the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea (SCS).
Hanoi’s MOFA said that on April 3, a Vietnamese fishing boat QNg 90617 TS, with eight fishermen on board, had been “hobbled, rammed and sunk” the day before by a CCG vessel. Hanoi claims their boat was conducting “normal fishing activities” near China’s controlled Woody Island, which is also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.
The MoFA said the fishermen have all returned safely to Vietnam, but accused the CCG not only of “violating Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Paracels,” but also of causing loss of property and endangering “The life, safety and legitimate interests of Vietnamese fishermen”.
The FDFA said that given the positive momentum of discussions on a code of conduct in the South China Sea (COC), “it is crucial that such incidents are avoided and that differences are addressed in a way that strengthens dialogue. and mutual trust “.
He added: âThe continued strengthening of regional relations is particularly critical in light of the joint ASEAN-China commitment to collectively tackle the current crisis caused by the Covif-19 pandemic, as stated in the special statement of ASEAN and Chinese Foreign Ministers. ‘Meeting on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19), published February 20, 2020. ”
The DFA said ASEAN was on China’s side at the meeting, which the whole world attended. “ASEAN’s support has proven to be well deserved, as we had no doubt when China extended extensive assistance to countries like the Philippines and as far as Italy to fight Covid-19.”
The DFA, however, stressed that âthe COVID-19 crisis is a crisis like no other in the past; not just in its potentially catastrophic magnitude, but in the hope of containing it and stopping it through unwavering cooperation and complete trust between all countries, knowing that if one of us fails, the rest will follow. ; and if any of us are successful, that success must be extended to the rest of the world. Or, eventually we will all fail and suffer the consequences. Its solution is still distant and must extend to everyone or to no one.
There is never a good time, added the DFA, âto indulge in provocations; they usually end with the defeat of aggression or the devastating price of victory. But it is always a good time to stand up in the defense and affirmation of our respective sovereignties and in the peace and stability of our region, especially in times of pandemic. “
COVID-19 is âa very real threat that demands unity and mutual trust. Faced with this, neither the fish nor the fictitious historical assertions are worth the fuse lit by such incidents â, concluded the DFA.