Vietnam responds after Chinese minister calls for 'people’s war' at sea

By VnExpress   August 5, 2016 | 06:35 am GMT+7
Vietnam responds after Chinese minister calls for 'people’s war' at sea
China's Defense Minister Chang Wanquan, accompanied by Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan (not pictured), reviews a guard of honour during his visit to Thailand, at the Defense Ministry in Bangkok February 6, 2015. Photo by Reuters/Chiwat Subprasom

The two countries continue to trade diplomatic barbs over the flashpoint South China Sea.

“Officials of other countries need to speak and act in accordance with official statements as well as their nations’ obligations, that is, repecting international law, refraining from using or threatening to use force, and actively contributing to peace and stability in the region and the world,” Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh said at a press briefing on Thursday.

The comments follow a Chinese minister’s call for the country’s army, police and people to prepare for a war at sea.   

China's Xinhua news agency on August 2 reported that Chinese defense minister Chang Wanquan had urged preparations for a “people’s war at sea” to counter offshore security threats and safeguard what he called Chinese sovereignty.

Chang’s comments came after an international tribunal on July 12 dismissed China’s claim to most of the waters in the South China Sea, which Vietnam calls the East Sea. China has angrily rejected the judgement.

All countries within and outside of the region have a common interest and desire to maintain peace and stability in the East Sea, Binh said. Disputes in the waters must be handled peacefully on the basis of international law, and without using or threatening to use force, the Vietnamese spokesman said. 

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