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Vietnam encourages fishermen to defy South China Sea ban

Christian Fernsby ▼ | May 13, 2020
Vietnam’s government on Tuesday encouraged the nation’s fishermen to keep operating around the disputed Paracel Islands despite China’s unilaterally imposed fishing ban in the South China Sea, and directed provincial authorities to support Vietnamese fishermen at sea.
South China Sea
Vietnam   South China Sea
That statement of defiance from Hanoi, calling the ban “invalid,” came as an oil exploration ship contracted by another South China Sea claimant, Malaysia, ended a survey off further south, off the Malaysian coast. The ship has been shadowed by Chinese vessels for the past month.

Topics: Vietnam South China Sea

The two developments highlighted the differing approaches of Vietnam and Malaysia in handling their maritime disputes with China. Beijing has been pressuring both nations as it looks to assert to sweeping claims over contested islands and ocean.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development directed provinces and cities to encourage fishermen to continue with their activities within Vietnam's territorial waters. It told local authorities to “strengthen the management and supervision of fishing activities” and monitor fishermen’s departure during the period of the ban, according to Vietnamese news outlet VNExpress. The ministry also directed provincial authorities to support fishermen at sea and said an emergency hotline would be set up with the Department of Fisheries Control.

Satellite imagery on Tuesday showed Vietnamese fishing vessels continuing to operate in the area covered by the fishing ban.