Caught in South China Sea tangle, Southeast Asia’s fishermen worry about livelihoods

Tensions remain high in the South China Sea as surrounding countries take steps to protect their interests and the US conducts freedom of navigation operations to challenge Beijing’s claims.In 2009 and 2019, Vietnam’s National Assembly passed a series of resolutions under its laws on civil defence forces allowing the formation of maritime militia units. Local fishermen were conscripted, with fishing enterprises also involved. There are an estimated 8,000 fishing boats and 46,000 fishermen, or more, in the maritime militia now. “It can be said that Vietnamese people are ready to sacrifice their blood and lives to protect territorial integrity and sovereignty as well as the legal rights of Vietnam,” said Tran Cong Truc, a former head of the country’s National Boundary Commission. “That’s the nature and tradition of the Vietnamese people.”

Caught in South China Sea tangle, Southeast Asia’s fishermen worry about livelihoods

Tensions remain high in the South China Sea as surrounding countries take steps to protect their interests and the US conducts freedom of navigation operations to challenge Beijing’s claims.

In 2009 and 2019, Vietnam’s National Assembly passed a series of resolutions under its laws on civil defence forces allowing the formation of maritime militia units. Local fishermen were conscripted, with fishing enterprises also involved.

There are an estimated 8,000 fishing boats and 46,000 fishermen, or more, in the maritime militia now.

“It can be said that Vietnamese people are ready to sacrifice their blood and lives to protect territorial integrity and sovereignty as well as the legal rights of Vietnam,” said Tran Cong Truc, a former head of the country’s National Boundary Commission.

“That’s the nature and tradition of the Vietnamese people.”