Vietnam demands China return properties to fishermen

TN News

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday sent a diplomatic note to the Chinese Embassy, asking China to give back all the boats and other properties that they confiscated from Vietnamese fishermen early this month.

The ministry also demanded China take actions to stop such actions in the future, spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga said when asked about Vietnam’s reaction to China’s latest capture of fishermen off the Hoang Sa (Paracel) islands.

Coast guards in the central province of Quang Ngai on Saturday reported three boats with 43 fishermen were arrested by the Chinese on December 7-8 while they were fishing.

The Chinese then confiscated two boats and over 20 tons of fish estimated to cost over VND2 billion (US$109,469) before releasing all the fishermen in the third boat two days later.

The action was wrong, critically violated Vietnam’s sovereignty and not in keeping with the friendly cooperation between the two countries, Nga said, stressing that it also harmed Vietnamese fishermen’s livelihoods and assets.

“Vietnam is concerned that China has many times arrested Vietnamese fishermen when they were fishing legally in seas under Vietnam’s sovereignty,” the spokeswoman said.

This year the Chinese have so far captured 17 fishing boats with some 210 fishermen from Quang Ngai’s Ly Son and Binh Son districts while they were fishing or taking shelter during storms off the Hoang Sa islands, according to the provincial coast guard.

They have released 13 boats and the 210 fishermen, but are still keeping four boats along with the fishermen’s devices and equipment costing nearly VND8 billion ($437,876), the coast guard said.

Reported by Huong Giang

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