Vietnam reaffirmed its legal and irrefutable sovereignty over the Spratly Islands while requesting China to stop militarization activities and refrain from increasing tensions in the region.
China’s strengthening of militarization on some entities that are part of Truong Sa (Spratly Islands) not only violates Vietnam’s sovereignty over the archipelago, but also causes concern among other countries in the region and the international community, as reflected in ASEAN documents, Pham Thu Hang, deputy spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry, said at a press meet Thursday.
This is not conducive to the maintenance of peace, security and stability in the East Sea, known internationally as South China Sea, Hang said.
She was responding to a request for comment on information that China has completed militarization of some islands in the South China Sea.
On March 22, U.S. Indo-Pacific commander Adm. John C. Aquilino said China has fully militarized at least three of several islands it has built in the South China Sea, arming them with anti-ship and anti-aircraft missile systems, laser and jamming equipment, and fighter jets, AP reported.
Hang stressed that Vietnam has full legal grounds and historical evidence to assert its sovereignty of the Spratly and Paracel Islands in accordance with international law, as also its sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the waters in accordance with international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
“Vietnam requests China to respect Vietnam’s sovereignty, cease militarization, refrain from activities that escalate tension in the region, maintain favorable conditions for continued joint efforts with ASEAN to promote negotiations towards achieving a substantive and effective code of conduct (COC) in line with international law and in UNCLOS with the earliest possible time.”
Regarding China’s announcement of new drills in the South China Sea from March 19 to April 9, Hang said Vietnam’s position on this matter was clarified on March 7.
Vietnam requested that China respect its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf as established in accordance with the UNCLOS, cease all activities violating them and refrain from action that may complicate the situation, contributing thereby to the maintenance of peace, security and stability in the South China Sea.
“Vietnam is continuing to discuss this issue with China,” Hang said.
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