Vietnam to protect fishermen detained by China: spokesman

By Truong Son, Thanh Nien News

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Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Le Hai Binh at a regular press conference on July 10. Photo: Ngoc Thang

Vietnam has instructed its embassy and other diplomatic agencies in China to take measures to protect six Vietnamese fishermen who were detained by China while fishing in the East Sea, internationally known as South China Sea, according to the foreign ministry.
During a regular press conference, the foreign ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh said representatives from the Vietnamese Consulate General in Guangzhou visited the six detained fishermen at the port of Sanya – the southernmost city on China’s Hainan Island – on Thursday morning.
The fishermen are reportedly in good health, he said.
The Vietnamese Consulate General in Guangzhou and other diplomatic agencies are working closely with China to clarify issues related to the arrest of the fishermen, according to Binh.
Chinese forces arrested the six fishermen aboard a fishing boat from Quang Ngai Province last Thursday, saying the fishermen had "broken the law" by working in Chinese territorial waters seven nautical miles south of Sanya.
But Vietnamese authorities said the Chinese arrested them in disputed waters near the Gulf of Tonkin.
Binh dismissed as "wrongful" a crowd of more than 200 Cambodians holding cardboard signs and shouting slogans on Monivong boulevard in front of the Vietnamese embassy in Phnom Penh, accusing Vietnam of allegedly stealing Cambodian territory, on Wednesday.
He said the protest aimed to cause disorder in Cambodia and was not appropriate to the friendship, neighborliness and cooperation that characterizes the relationship between Vietnam and Cambodia.
Vietnam has asked the Cambodian government to take necessary measures to prevent similar acts in the future, he told reporters.
When asked about Vietnam’s reaction to US senators’ recent criticisms of human rights in Vietnam, Binh said Vietnam's consistent policy is to respect the basic rights of its citizens.
"Vietnam's important achievements in the field of human rights have been internationally recognized through its election to the UN Human Rights Council for the 2014-16 term," he said.
He said Vietnam and the US have organized many meetings, dialogues and exchanges to strengthen their mutual understanding on the issue and narrow the gap between the two countries in terms of human rights.
He added that US officials and senators have witnessed the achievements Vietnam had recorded, including those in human rights, during their visits to Vietnam.
Binh said the recent criticism was based on erroneous and subjective information that failed to reflect the enforcement of human rights in Vietnam, adding that their criticism was not helpful to efforts aimed at boosting bilateral ties.
Responding to questions on whether Vietnam can learn any lessons from Bangladesh, which recently won a territorial dispute with India at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Binh said the victory proved that legal measures are appropriate for settling any dispute.
In addition to strengthening relations with the Permanent Court of Arbitration, Vietnam will thoroughly study similar cases and related international standards, Binh said.

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