Any survey of the Spratly Islands conducted without Vietnam’s approval is a violation of the nation’s sovereignty, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reasserted in response to new Chinese incursions.
“Surveying and performing scientific research without Vietnam’s approval within the proximity of the Spratly Islands and Vietnamese sea regions is a violation on Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Spratly Islands, as well as the nation’s sovereignty and jurisdictional rights over its territorial waters,” deputy spokeswoman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pham Thu Hang told a Thursday press conference.
Hang’s comments came on the heels of unilateral announcement by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) that it would perform regular surveys of 33 areas, including certain areas in the South China Sea that include the Spratly Islands and Vietnamese sea regions.
Vietnam has the legal basis and historical evidence to assert its sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly islands in accordance with international law, as well as its sovereignty and jurisdictional rights over all Vietnamese territorial waters, Hang said.
“Any activity in the East Sea needs to abide by international law and respect Vietnam’s sovereignty and jurisdictional rights over its sea regions, as established in accordance with UNCLOS.”
Vietnam calls the South China Sea the East Sea.
In accordance with the United National Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), coastal states have full rights of sovereignty over their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) and continental shelf for the purposes of exploration and natural resource exploitation. Other UNCLOS member states can only perform scientific research within these regions with the consent of relevant coastal states.
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