Vietnam-China tensions over sea dispute rise
Jun 9, 2011, 12:09 GMT
Hanoi - Vietnam protested to China over damage it allegedly caused to a seismic survey ship Thursday, the second incident of its kind in recent weeks, as temperatures rise over competing territorial claims in the South China Sea.
The incident occurred when a Chinese fishing ship 'rammed' into the exploration cables of Viking 2, a vessel operated by Petro Vietnam (PVN), Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Affairs Nguyen Phuong Nga said at a regular press meeting.
The Chinese vessel deployed a 'cable cutting device' which got stuck in a net attached to the Vietnamese boat. Two other Chinese marine surveillance vessels arrived as back up.
The incident took place some 160 nautical miles off the south coast of Vietnam, 'well inside' Vietnam's 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone, Nga said.
'Vietnam strongly protests this act of China and demands China to immediately stop similar action,' she said, adding China should compensate PVN for the damage caused.
China had violated the 1982 United Nations Convention and the 'spirit and content' of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) signed between ASEAN and China in 2002, Nga said. She accused China of heightening tension over the South China Sea and creating confusion over which areas were in dispute and which not.
The incident was the latest in a serious of allegations of aggressive activity by Chinese vessels. Late last month China was accused of cutting the survey cables of a PVN vessel and harassing fishermen near the disputed Spratly Islands.
The incidents provoked rare protests in communist Vietnam, with hundreds of people gathering Sunday outside the Chinese embassy and consulate.
On the same day, Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie pledged a peaceful solution to the territorial disputes in the South China Sea at an Asian security summit in Singapore.
China, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei have competing claims over various parts of the South China Sea. The disputed islands and surrounding waters are believed to be rich in fish and mineral resources.