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Vietnam accuses China of intimidation

Says violated sovereignty by preventing mariners from sheltering in Paracel Islands reporter, Ho Chi Minh City

March 1, 2012

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China was accused yesterday of violating Vietnam's sovereignty by preventing Vietnamese fishermen from sheltering in islands which Hanoi says it owns. According to the foreign ministry, 11 fishermen were prevented by Chinese troops from landing in the disputed Paracel Islands to avoid a storm on February 22. They were also reported to have assaulted the fishermen and confiscated their property. “China’s action has seriously infringed upon Vietnam’s sovereignty and jurisdictional rights. It undermined the spirit of humanitarianism, severely threatened Vietnamese fishermen’s lives,” Vietnamese foreign ministry spokesman Luong Thanh Nghi said yesterday. Nghi also said it went against the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, signed by China and Southeast Asian countries in 2002. He noted that Vietnamese fishermen have moved freely in the waters surrounding the archipelago for generations and have behaved in accordance with international laws, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982, he added. “The foreign ministry had summoned an official from the Chinese embassy and protested the incident and asked China to refrain from similar actions in the future and to provide compensation for the fishermen,” Nghi said. Related report: Catholics pray for maritime peace      

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