|The Vietnamese fishing vessel was sunk by the Chinese coast guard ship
The Vietnamese fishing boat, No. QNg 90617 TS, was “hindered, rammed and sunk” by the China coast guard ship, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam.
When the incident happened, the Vietnamese vessel was fishing in the area belonging to Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago.
The US is “seriously concerned” about the incident, said Morgan Ortagus, the U.S. Department of State’s spokesperson in a statement.
This incident is the latest in a long string of China’s actions to assert unlawful maritime claims and disadvantage its Southeast Asian neighbors in the sea, the spokesperson said.
“Since the outbreak of the global pandemic, Beijing has also announced new ‘research stations’ on military bases it built on Fiery Cross Reef and Subi Reef, and landed special military aircraft on Fiery Cross Reef,” the US State Department statement added.
The US spokesperson called on China to focus on supporting international efforts to combat the global COVID-19 pandemic, and to stop exploiting the distraction or vulnerability of other states to expand its unlawful claims in the sea.
Earlier, Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang said Vietnam lodged a protest over the incident and requested China to compensate as well as not to complicate the situation in the East Sea.
About 8 fishermen on board the sunken ship had been rescued, and four of them have been brought ashore.