China must stop sending tourists to Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago immediately, as such actions violates Vietnam’s sovereignty, Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Le Hai Binh said Thursday.
Binh made the statement in reply to reporters’ questions about Vietnam’s response to the fact that China, on September 2, launched a new tourism route from Sanya City in China’s Hainan province to the Hoang Sa archipelago in the East Vietnam Sea.
“Vietnam has indisputable sovereignty over the Hoang Sa archipelago, and China’s tourist promotion activities on the islands have seriously violated Vietnam’s sovereignty, gone against the Vietnam – China agreement on the basic principles for settlement of issues at sea, and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and further complicated the situation in the East Vietnam Sea and the region,” Binh said.
“Vietnam demands that China immediately stop such an unlawful act,” the spokesman said.
In late 2012, China announced its plan to send tourists to the Hoang Sa archipelago, Binh said, adding that before officially launching the new tourist route on Tuesday, China had repeatedly sent cruises carrying tourists to the archipelago on a pilot basis.
At a press conference in Hanoi on August 7, Binh also reiterated that Vietnam has irrefutable sovereignty over the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes.
“Therefore, all Chinese activities in the two groups of islands are null and void,” Binh said.