Vietnam and Indonesia vow to settle fishing violations

Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, left, and Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh during a press briefing where they announced the two Asian neighbors would work together to resolve fishing violations in the South China Sea. (Reuters)
Updated 17 April 2018
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Vietnam and Indonesia vow to settle fishing violations

HANOI, Vietnam: Vietnam and Indonesia have pledged to work together to resolve fishing violations in the South China Sea as the two countries seek to boost their bilateral trade.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, speaking to reporters Tuesday at a joint briefing with his Vietnamese counterpart, said the two countries would strengthen their partnership, cooperating particularly on fishing and other maritime issues.
“In maritime and fishing cooperation, we agreed on how to conclude the ongoing issues in this regard,” she said via a translator. “We have also agreed to try together to complete the demarcation of the exclusive economic zone, because the demarcation of the EEZ between our two countries can enhance the interests of our two peoples as well as ensure security between our two countries.”
Since 2014, Indonesia has destroyed several hundred fishing vessels, most of them from Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand, for violating its waters. The government of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has taken a hardline stance against illegal fishing, partly driven by the need to show its neighbors that it is in control of its vast territory of 17,000 islands.
Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said the two sides agreed to establish a mechanism to handle fishing violations in line with both countries’ laws.
“On our part, Vietnam will continue to strengthen education and information so as to raise awareness of our fishermen not to violate other countries’ waters,” he said.
Marsudi said trade and investment between the two countries have seen positive developments, especially after the establishment of the strategic partnership in 2013.
Bilateral trade stood at $6.8 billion last year and the two countries are targeting to bring it up to $10 billion in the next few years, she said.


Hong Kong bans pro-independence party

In this file photo taken on August 5, 2016, Andy Chan (R), leader of the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), gives a press conference at the start of a rally near the government's headquarters in Hong Kong. (AFP)
Updated 24 September 2018
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Hong Kong bans pro-independence party

  • The ban is likely to raise further questions about Beijing’s growing influence in the former British colony, which was promised semi-autonomy as part of the 1997 handover

HONG KONG: Authorities in Hong Kong on Monday took an unprecedented step against separatist voices by banning a political party that advocates independence for the southern Chinese territory on national security grounds.
John Lee, the territory’s secretary for security, announced that the Hong Kong National Party will be prohibited from operation from Monday.
Lee’s announcement did not provide further details. But Hong Kong’s security bureau had previously said in a letter to the National Party’s leader, 27-year-old Andy Chan, that the party should be dissolved “in the interests of national security or public safety, public order or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.” Chan had no immediate comment.
That letter had cited a national security law that has not been invoked since 1997. The ban is likely to raise further questions about Beijing’s growing influence in the former British colony, which was promised semi-autonomy as part of the 1997 handover. Chinese President Xi Jinping and other officials have warned separatist activity would not be tolerated.
Chan, the National Party leader, had previously told The Associated Press that police approached him with documents detailing his speeches and activities since the party’s formation in 2016.
The party was founded in response to frustration about Beijing’s treatment of Hong Kong. Despite a promise of autonomy, activists complain mainland influence over its democratic elections is increasing.
Chan and other pro-independence candidates were disqualified from 2016 elections to the Hong Kong legislature after they refused to sign a pledge saying Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China. The Hong Kong National Party has never held any seats on the council.