The Department of Foreign Affairs has expressed "deep concern" over the reported sinking of a Vietnamese fishing vessel in the South China Sea on April 3 as it called on all claimants to the disputed waters to exercise good behavior and avoid provocation.
The DFA said, "neither fish nor fictional historical claims" are worth the fuse lit by such incidents, especially in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"There is never a good time to indulge in provocations; they usually end in defeat of aggression or a devastating price of victory. But it is always a good time to rise in the defense and affirmation of our respective sovereignties and in the peace and stability of our region especially in a time of pandemic," the DFA said in a statement.
"As we have said the creation of new facts in the water will never give rise to legal right anywhere or anytime. We therefore urge forbearance and good behavior to each and every government; and to extend that forbearance and behavior to people under our respective jurisdictions. COVID-19 is a very real threat that demands unity and mutual trust," the department added.
A South China Morning Post report said Vietnam released a video showing a much larger Chinese maritime surveillance vessel racing after a Vietnamese fishing boat in the contested waters.
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