07/27/2020, 15.38
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Vietnam and US sign fishing agreement against 'threats' in the East Sea

by Nguyen Hung

A Memorandum of Understanding is signed in Hanoi to support sustainable fishing and Vietnamese fishermen. Earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the US would support countries in South-East Asia when they believe their maritime sovereignty is violated by China.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) – Since 2015, the United States and Vietnam have been working together on improving law enforcement and fisheries management through technical training, study trips, exchanges and help for Vietnamese fishermen.

On 22 July, Vietnam’s Directorate of Fisheries (DFISH) and the US State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to boost Vietnam’s fisheries management and law enforcement capabilities.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J. Kritenbrink said that “The United States has a great deal of experience in managing fisheries and enforcing regulations, which we are more than happy to share”. For this reason, “We look forward to working together with Vietnam to strengthen the sustainability of its fisheries and support its fishers against illegal intimidation.”

The MoU will promote cooperation between Vietnam, the United States and international law enforcement agencies whilst ensuring the sustainability of marine resources.

The agreement comes after US Secretary of State Michael Richard Pompeo announced on 15 July that the United States would support countries when they believe that China has violated their sovereignty in the South China Sea (also known as the East Sea in Vietnam).

"The United States' policy is crystal clear: The South China Sea is not China’s maritime empire,” Secretary Pompeo said.

DFISH Director General Trần Đình Luân and US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J. Kritenbrink signed the MoU against this background. In particular, the two countries will work together on cooperation programmes, technology sharing, and law enforcement to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.

In February 2021, the INL will transfer to Vietnam’s Department of Fisheries Resources Surveillance (DFIRES) a training facility at Region 5 in Phú Quốc, which will significantly improve the capabilities of DFIRES’s human resources and local fisheries enforcement units in Vietnam’s 28 coastal provinces.

Under the MoU, the United States will help DFISH fight illegal fishing in the South China Sea (East Sea). This should help Vietnamese fishermen work at sea without fear of shipwrecks, fishing gear theft, violence and intimidation or being thrown overboard by people from “strange ships” coming from a neighbouring country.

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