Vietnam summons Chinese diplomat to protest East Sea attacks

By Truong Son, Thanh Nien News

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A Vietnamese fishing boat damaged in an attack from a Chinese ship early May 17. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre Newspaper
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned a representative from the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi on Tuesday to protest recent attacks on Vietnamese fishermen operating in Vietnam's territorial waters.
Early this month, China illegally dispatched the rig, as well as a large fleet of armed vessels, military ships and aircraft, into Vietnamese waters.
The ministry said that, since the beginning of May, a number of Vietnamese fishing boats have been chased, rammed and damaged by the Chinese vessels. More seriously, Chinese forces have attacked, beaten and threatened the lives of Vietnamese fishermen.
In the latest incident, at around 4 pm on Monday, a Chinese ship rammed a fishing boat piloted by captain Dang Van Nhan, 40, of the central city of Da Nang.
Ten Vietnamese fishermen were onboard the boat, which a group of 40 Chinese fishing vessels encircled and then sank.
At the time of the assault, Capt. Nhan and his crew had anchored in their customary spot some 17 nautical miles from China’s illegally positioned Haiyang Shiyou-981 oil rig.
After the boat sank, a nearby Vietnamese fishing boat managed to rescue the crew.
On May 17, a Chinese ship assaulted and robbed a Vietnamese fishing crew from the central province of Quang Ngai.
The crew of 13 fishermen came under attack some 31 nautical miles from Tri Ton Island in the Paracel Archipelago.
The day before, another Vietnamese fishing boat from Quang Ngai was attacked by a Chinese ship off the Paracels. Vietnamese fishermen were brutally beaten by a Chinese crew who proceeded to steal and vandalize their navigational and fishing equipment.
Two Vietnamese fishermen were seriously injured in the attack, including the captain, who managed to pilot his boat toward a Vietnamese Coast Guard vessel which provided medical treatment for the crew.
On May 7, a Vietnamese fishing boat with 16 crew members from Quang Ngai was chased and rammed by a Chinese ship some 10 nautical miles off the Paracels.
The vessel escaped with serious damage to its cabin.
Another Chinese ship fired water cannons at the Vietnamese boat, while Chinese crew members threw hammers, bottles and other hard objects that sabotaged the ship's communications devices.
During a press briefing on Tuesday, MOFA spokesman Le Hai Binh said the aforementioned crimes violated Vietnamese sovereignty in the East Sea and the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) as well as complicating the situation in the East Sea.
“Vietnam, once again, demands that China cease its inhumane actions, which seriously threaten the lives, property and legitimate interests of Vietnamese fishermen," he said, before demanding that China punish those involved in the attacks and compensate the Vietnamese victims.

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