Weekly Bulletin (17-23/4)

+ Vietnam’s diplomacy:

On April 17, Vietnamese PM Phạm Minh Chính reprimanded 4 provinces - Bình Định, Khánh Hòa, Bình Thuận & Kiên Giang - for violations of fisheries in foreign waters in 2023. Vietnam is implementing a “180-day action plan” to tackle IUU fishing to escape the EU “yellow card”.

On April 20, Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry said China’s unilateral fishing ban May 1 - August 18 on parts of the South China Sea was a violation of Vietnam's sovereignty over the Paracels, as well as its sovereignty rights and jurisdiction rights over its maritime zones determined by UNCLOS.

+ Developments at seas:

On Apr 12-13, Vietnamese & Thai navies conducted their 47th annual joint patrol in the Gulf of Thailand, according to an agreement dating back to 1999.

U.S. Navy’s destroyer USS Milius transited the Taiwan Strait on April 16, more than three months after the last announced transit on January 5. The ship passed through “waters where high-seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply”, according to the U.S. 7th Fleet.

U.S. Nimitz Carrier Strike Group has come back to the South China Sea in mid-April, weeks after it left the region in mid-February to sail to the Philippine Sea & Northeast Asia.

U.S. Coast Guard’s USCGC Stratton - one of the country’s largest coast guard cutters - is heading to the South China Sea. This will be part of the ship’s upcoming deployment in the Western Pacific.

On April 17, Philippine Kalayaan Tourism Development Center unveiled a week-long expedition to five destinations in the South China Sea, including Thitu, Nanshan & Flat islands.

+ Politics - Diplomacy:

Philippine officials said that Manila did not intend to interfere in the Taiwan issue after Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said Manila should oppose “Taiwan independence” if it cared about Philippine workers in Taiwan.

The United Kingdom has joined the Blue Dot Network initiative with the United States, Japan, and Australia. The member countries also welcomed more countries joining the initiative.

In the recent communiqué, G7 foreign ministers for the first time criticize China on the South China Sea issue, and support Taiwan’s “meaningful” participation in international organizations.

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang visited the Philippines on April 21-23, met with Philippine President Marcos and Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo. After the meeting, Manalo said the two have agreed that differences in the South China Sea “are not the sum (or) total of our relations”.

EU's top diplomat Josep Borrell said European navies should patrol the Taiwan Strait “to show Europe’s commitment to freedom of navigation in this absolutely crucial area”.

+ Commentaries from SCSI:

As the International Seabed Authority (ISA) is make its final call regarding Nauru’s pledge for deep-sea mining project, let’s revise the for and against arguments of this activity. Read more here.

European public opinion on recent French President Macron’s statement on Taiwan & EU-U.S. relations is not anonimous. Read more here.