Chinese survey ship withdrawn from Vietnamese waters: Foreign ministry

August 8, 2019 (VNA) – The Chinese survey ship that encroached upon Việt Nam’s continental shelf reportedly since early July has been withdrawn, Việt Nam’s authorities confirmed today.

“According to the information we have obtained, on the afternoon of August 7, the Haiyang Di Zhi 08 (Marine Geology 8) survey vessel has halted its geological mission and left Việt Nam’s Exclusive Economic Zone and southeastern continental shelf, which are determined in line with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Lê Thị Thu Hằng said during the regular press briefings held today in Hà Nội.

However, the Vietnamese authorities would still monitor the movement of the survey ship in the South China Sea (called East Sea by Việt Nam), she said.

Regarding the issue, Hà Nội has in recent days on many occasions make known its position and opinions to the Chinese side on different levels and with different forms in line with UNCLOS 1982 and international law, she said.

“Việt Nam demanded that all countries respect the country’s sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction as recognised by international law, and that they must have good will and stand ready to engage in dialogues to resolve disagreements, contributing to the maintenance of peace and order in the East Sea, as well as the promotion of friendship and cooperation between countries,” Hằng added.

However, the tension in the South China Sea remains palpable as China has reportedly started fresh military drills near Việt Nam’s Hoàng Sa (Paracel) Islands, to which Việt Nam has voiced protests.

Today, the foreign ministry said it has delivered a diplomatic note opposing China’s illegal action on the islands where Việt Nam holds incontestable historical evidence and legal basis over the sovereignty.

Responding to the reported presence of US Navy’s aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in the South China Sea, Hằng reiterated Việt Nam’s stance on respecting all countries’ rights to the freedom of navigation and overflight in international waters.

“Maintenance of peace and stability and the insurance of maritime and air navigation freedom in the spirit of upholding the rule of law is the common interest of the international community,” she said, adding that Việt Nam is expecting other countries to have “practical and responsible contributions to this goal.”

In a related development, China is going to put into use a new high-school history textbook which claims that both Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands and the South China Sea have been a part of China since ancient times.

“That China is educating its future generation with information contrary to historical truths and international law is not conducive to the relations between the two countries,” the foreign ministry spokeswoman said.

China’s extensive claims over the majority of the South China Sea, covering both Việt Nam’s Hoàng Sa and Trường Sa islands, has been contested by many countries in the region, especially Việt Nam.

In 2016, an arbitral tribunal set up under the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration delivered a landmark judgement, ruling that China’s so-called “nine-dash line” has no legal basis under UNCLOS 1982, to which China is a signatory, but China has refused to recognise both the court and the verdict.