Vietnam calls Chinese fishing in Truong Sa "illegal'

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The deployment of 30 Chinese fishing boats to waters around Vietnam's Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago is "illegal" and a "violation" of regional sovereignty, the foreign ministry's National Border Committee said Friday.

A committee representative made the statement at a press conference when asked about reports in the Chinese media Thursday that a fishing fleet had left Hainan Province for the archipelago's Chu Thap (Fiery Cross) Reel, Vietnam News Agency reported.

"Vietnam demands that China be responsible for educating and instructing its fishermen about respecting Vietnam's sovereignty and territory, and conforming to international laws," the representative was quoted as saying.

In an interview published by Tuoi Tre Saturday, Tran Cong Truc, former chief of the National Border Committee, warned that China, which has recently harassed and violated the sovereignty of both Vietnam and the Philippines, will likely be more aggressive in the future and will try to flaunt its power and dominate negotiations regarding the East Sea.

He called on the government to demonstrate Vietnam's power, too, by detaining any foreign boats that cross into its national waters illegally. He said those responsible for such violations should be taken to court and prosecuted with solid evidence, especially given that Vietnam's National Assembly has recently passed the Law on the Sea of Vietnam.

Nguyen Viet Thang, chairman of the Vietnam Fisheries Society, also said that related Vietnamese agencies needed more effective  measures to protect the lives and properties of Vietnamese fishermen.

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Early this month, the Vietnamese government's official news agency published an article denying Chinese media reports that four Chinese marine surveillance ships had blocked and chased Vietnamese Marine Police ships in Vietnamese waters around Truong Sa .

According to the Vietnamese report, Vietnamese maritime authorities asked the Chinese ships to leave because the waters belonged to Vietnam.

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