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Việt Nam Reaffirms Willingness to Peacefully Settle South China Sea Disputes: Foreign Ministry

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam on Thursday called out China’s illegal activities in its waters and doubled down on its claims of the islands in the South China Sea.

Deputy spokesperson Phạm Thu Hằng made the remarks during the press conference in Hà Nội, in response to the reports of Chinese survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 4’s entry into Việt Nam’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) since last month.

“Việt Nam wishes to reaffirm that our consistent position is that all activities in the South China Sea (known in Việt Nam as the East Sea) need to strictly adhere to international law, respect the sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction towards our waters as established by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” Hằng stressed.

According to the latest updates from Việt Nam’s maritime law enforcement, the Chinese vessel has left Vietnamese waters, the diplomat told the press.

A report on the National Natural Science Foundation of China’s announcement of 33 sections/routes for frequent research ship visits, which include locations overlapping with Việt Nam’s Trường Sa (Spratly) archipelago, was also raised at the meeting.

The deputy spokesperson reiterated that Việt Nam has full legal basis and historical evidence to assert sovereignty over the Hoàng Sa (Paracel) and Spratly in accordance with international law, as well as to assert sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdictions towards Vietnamese waters in accordance with the 1982 UNCLOS.

Deputy spokesperson Hằng stressed: “Scientific research and survey in the vicinity of the Spratly Islands and Việt Nam’s waters as established in accordance with the 1982 UNCLOS that are conducted without Việt Nam’s express permission is a violation of Việt Nam’s sovereignty over the Spratlys as well as Việt Nam’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the waters here, and is therefore null and void.”

Regarding China Daily‘s interview with Prime Minister of Malaysia Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in which he calls on dialogue to resolve disputes in the South China Sea and that the current disputes are not “insurmountable”, deputy spokesperson Hằng commented that Việt Nam is consistent with its position in supporting the peaceful resolution of disputes.

Việt Nam supports countries’ handling of disagreements by respecting the lawful rights and interests of countries and by adhering to the 1982 UNCLOS and to maintain the peace, stability, and development in the region, she said.

“With this policy, Việt Nam stands ready to discuss with countries to resolve all the issues which are historical legacies to contribute to the stability of the region,” the diplomat remarked.

Migrant deaths in Taiwan

Regarding the seven dead bodies found a week ago off Chinese Taipei’s waters that bear Vietnamese identifications, deputy spokesperson Hằng said that under the directions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the consular department and the Việt Nam Economic & Culture Office in Taipei have been working closely with Taiwan’s authorities to closely follow the case.

Support is also being extended to the families of those missing to facilitate identification processes and other arrangements.

Hằng also took note of the new report where Taiwanese authorities found illegal immigrants on a ship in its waters, also with Vietnamese identity papers.

Vietnamese representatives in Taipei have immediately taken the initiative to contact Chinese authorities to grasp the situation and implement necessary protection measures, according to the deputy spokesperson.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also working with domestic competent authorities to clarify information to closely follow the case and to raise people’s awareness of safe and legal migration in order to prevent future real occurrences,” Hằng said.

She also underlined Vietnamese Government’s policy is to facilitate safe, legal and orderly migration, while also combating illegal migration, human smuggling and human trafficking.

Recently, Việt Nam has resolutely implemented measures to prevent and combat human trafficking and implemented the Programme on Prevention and Combating Human Trafficking in 2021-25 period with orientations to 2030 (issued in February 2021), with new solutions and missions to prevent and combat human trafficking in all areas, according to the diplomat.

Việt Nam is also making every effort to realise the goals of the Implementation Plan of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM) in accordance with a plan issued by the Prime Minister on March 20, 2020, in order to create a transparent migration environment, safeguard the lawful rights and interest of migrants, and prevent the risk of human trafficking in international migration.

The deputy spokesperson also said that Việt Nam has signed on cooperation with a number of countries and organisations, including INTERPOL, with regards to prevention, detection, investigation and handling of human trafficking rings in accordance with the laws.

Việt Nam also stands ready to discuss and cooperate with countries to handle many cases in a timely manner to ensure the goal of safe migration and to prevent the risk of human trafficking for the legitimate rights and interests of migrants. — VNS

Source : Newswires