Any foreign construction on Spratly Islands illegal, Vietnam asserts

By Vu Anh   May 27, 2021 | 03:04 am PT
Any foreign construction on Spratly Islands illegal, Vietnam asserts
Aerial view of the Philippines's runways and locks that were illegally built on the Thitu Island of Vietnam's Spratly archipelago. Photo courtesy of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative.
Vietnam reiterated Thursday that all activities violating its legal and historic sovereignty over the Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands are illegal.

"As it has been affirmed multiple times, Vietnam has full legal basis and historical evidence under international law to assert its sovereignty over the Spratly Islands. All activities that violate Vietnam's sovereignty and other relevant rights on the Spratlys are illegal and hold no value," foreign ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said at a press meet.

Hang was responding to inquiries about the Philippines's Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Cirilito Sobejana saying earlier this month that the country's army would request the Filipino administration to spend money on building and fortifying logistics facilities on the Thitu Island, which is part of Vietnam's Spratly archipelago. A Filipino government source said its Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana would soon sign a contract to fix and upgrade runways at the Thitu Island.

The Thitu Island is illegally occupied by the Philippines. Last year, Manila spent $26 million to build and renovate structures on the island, including runways.

Hang said: "Vietnam requests that relevant parties respect Vietnam's sovereignty and international law, abide by the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and not undertake activities that complicate the situation.

"Parties should positively contribute for the maintenance of peace and stability in the East Sea (South China Sea), as well as create conducive environments for negotiations for a Code of Conduct on the South China Sea."

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