Stop illegal drills off Truong Sa Islands, Vietnam tells Taiwan

By Khanh Lynh   June 10, 2021 | 11:28 pm PT
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang affirmed Friday that Taiwan’s drills in waters off Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands are a violation of Vietnam’s sovereignty and should not be repeated.

"The fact that Taiwan performs live fire drills in sea areas around Truong Sa Archipelago’s Ba Binh (Itu Aba) Island is a serious violation of Vietnam’s territorial sovereignty over this island, threatening peace, stability, safety and maritime security by escalating and complicating the East Sea situation," Hang said in a Friday press release.

She was responding to requests for comments on a drill conducted by Taiwan's Coast Guard on June 11.

"Vietnam resolutely opposes the violations and asks Taiwan not to perform the illegal drills or repeat such violations in the future," she said.

Aerial view of the Itu Aba Island, part of Vietnams Spratly Islands. Photo by AFP.

Aerial view of the Itu Aba Island, part of Vietnam's Spratly Islands. Photo by AFP.

Hang reiterated that Vietnam has full legal basis and historical evidence to assert its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) islands in accordance with international law.

Taiwan illegally occupies the Ba Binh Island, which is the largest natural area on the Spratly Archipelago. In 2000, Taiwan deployed a unit of Coast Guard in Ba Binh, replacing a marine unit. The new one is equipped with different kinds of arms such as machine guns and long-range mortars. Consequently, the territory regularly conducts illegal live-fire drills on the island.

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