Tue. Feb 18th, 2020

Vietnam again demands that China withdraw ships from its territorial waters

Vientam asked China for the second time in a week to remove the oil exploration vessel and its escort from its territorial waters, in a new escalation of tension in the disputed South China Sea.

The Chinese ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 returned last August 13 to an area near the Vanguarda bank, located within the special economic zone of Vietnam, and in which it was already conducting surveys for a month until August 7 despite protests from Hanoi, which deployed several ships of its coast guard.

"Vietnam has contacted China multiple times and has required it to withdraw its ships and not behave in a way that threatens security and peace in the region," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said Today the VNExpress portal.

Hanoi, which condemned last Friday the return of the Chinese ship and its armed escort to the area, showed its determination to protect its sovereignty and resolve the dispute by peaceful means in accordance with international law, the spokeswoman added.

Vietnam in collaboration with Russia's Rosneft began drilling in May near the Vanguarda bank, the same area where the Spanish Repsol operated until 2017, when its drilling contract was canceled by Hanoi following pressure from Beijing.

Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh denounced in a regional forum earlier this month the "illegal" activities in the area of ​​China, which in recent weeks, has conducted similar surveys in territorial waters of the Philippines and Malaysia.

The United States accused China on Thursday of "aggressive steps" that seek to "intimidate" and "escalate its coercion" over Vietnam and other Asian countries in the South China Sea, where Beijing has built military-use facilities on several islets.

China claims almost all of this strategic maritime space, key to international trade and rich in natural resources, which are also partially claimed by Brunei, the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam.

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