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US SIGNS MOU TO SUPPORT VIETNAMESE FISHERMEN AGAINST CHINESE 'INTIMIDATION'

US SIGNS MOU TO SUPPORT VIETNAMESE FISHERMEN AGAINST CHINESE 'INTIMIDATION'

Context

With tension in the South China Sea, the US has signed a MoU with Vietnam.

Background

  • The US has criticized China's military exercises in the South China Sea and rejected China's claims to most of the South China Sea which is called the East Sea.
  • The East Sea includes waters surrounding Vietnam's Vanguard Bank, Luconia Shoals off Malaysia, waters in Brunei's EEZ, and Natuna Besar off Indonesia.
  • China has seized the Paracel Islands from South Vietnam by force in 1974.
  • In 2012, it built the so-called "Sansha City" and since then built a runway capable of handling military aircraft and other supporting structures.
  • China uses intimidation to undermine the sovereign rights of Southeast Asian coastal states in the South China Sea.

Details

  • Memorandum of Understanding includes support against illegal "intimidation" of the latter's fishermen at sea.
  • It aims to strengthen Vietnam's fisheries management and law enforcement capabilities.
  • It came after the US affirmed its stance in supporting Southeast Asian nations including Vietnam in disputes with China at sea.
  • Recent tensions between Vietnam and China has enhanced the fragility of the situation between the claimant states in this strategic expanse of sea waters.

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