Another Chinese research vessel disrespects Palau laws

Another Chinese research vessel, HAIYANG DIZHI LIUHAO entered Palau’s Exclusive Economic Zone without permission or notification to the Palau government on 24 May 2023, at around 1:20 pm, disrespecting Palau’s laws and the international rule of law.

“The vessel proceeded South toward Palau and slowed to about 1-2 knots as it passed over Palau’s fibre optic cable. The vessel continued with questionable maneuvers, passing about 45 nautical miles from Kayangel. Attempts by the Joint Operation Center to contact the vessel via VHF radio were unsuccessful,” reported National Security Coordinator Jennifer Anson.

Due to bad weather, Maritime Security could not deploy the Patrol Boat or the Sea Dragon aircraft to intercept the illegal vessel.

This is not the first time a Chinese research vessel entered Palau’s EEZ without authorisation or notification and conducted unauthorised research, questionable maneuvers, and activities without respect for the rule of law.

In September 2018, the Chinese Research Vessel Xiang Yang Hong 01 entered Palau waters to conduct research without authorisation. Palau government issued a diplomatic notification to China’s Embassy in the Federated States of Micronesia of the illegal entry violating Palau’s rights under UNCLOS. In December 2021, another Chinese Research Vessel, Da Yang Hao, entered Palau’s EEZ without permission or notification and stayed in Palau waters for 7 days before leaving. In July 2022, the Chinese Spacecraft vessel Yuan Wang 5 entered Palau’s EEZ without notification or authorisation, passing 90 nautical miles of Southwest islands before heading toward Indonesia.

“Conducting research without authorisation and carrying out questionable activities within Palau’s waters threatens security and disregards sovereignty and rules-based order,” Security Coordinator Ansen expressed the consistent violations by China’s Research Vessels’ excursions into Palau’s EEZ. As of Tuesday, HAIYANG DIZHI LIUHAO appeared to be making its way out of Palau’s EEZ, heading toward the Federated States of Micronesia.