Vietnam Confirms China Ship Left its Waters, Ending Month-Long Standoff

August 8, 2019 Updated: August 8, 2019

HANOI—A Chinese survey ship embroiled in a tense month-long standoff with Vietnamese vessels has left Vietnam’s continental shelf, the Southeast Asian nation’s foreign ministry confirmed on Aug. 8.

Late on Wednesday, Reuters reported that the Haiyang Dizhi 8 vessel, operated by the China Geological Survey, had headed away from Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

“In the afternoon of August 7, the Haiyang Dizhi 8 survey vessel stopped its survey activities and left Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone and southeastern continental shelf,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang told a regular news conference.

Vietnamese authorities would continue to monitor the location of Chinese vessels in the area, Hang added.

Since early July, Vietnamese ships had been closely tracking Chinese vessels operating in the EEZ, the latest confrontation in waters that are a potential global flashpoint as the United States challenges China’s sweeping maritime claims.

Vietnam has accused Chinese survey vessel Haiyang Dizhi 8 and its escorts of conducting illegal activities in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf and demanded that China remove all of the ships.

China in turn demanded that Vietnam “respect China’s sovereign rights.”

The Chinese regime claims that it has historical ownership over nearly the entire region, which gives it the right to manufacture islands, declare defensive perimeters around its artificial islands, and to chase ships from other nations out of the South China Sea. However, on July 12,  2016, an arbitration court in The Hague found the Chinese regime’s claims to be false.

The South China Sea is a vital route for ships carrying more than $3 trillion in trade every year. The Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping claims to parts of it.

By Khanh Vu. The Epoch Times contributed to this report.