Stop sub drills near Spratly Islands, Vietnam tells Taiwan

By Vu Anh   November 18, 2021 | 03:46 am PT
Stop sub drills near Spratly Islands, Vietnam tells Taiwan
The Hai Lung submarine performs a drill near Taiwan in 2013. Photo by Reuters
Vietnam said Thursday that Taiwanese submarines performing drills off Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly Islands) were sovereignty violations that should be ended.

"All patrols and military drills by Taiwan in the sea area surrounding the Itu Aba, part of Vietnam’s Spratly Islands, is a serious violation of Vietnam’s sovereignty over the islands, threatening peace, stability, safety and maritime security, escalating and complicating the situation in the East Sea," Foreign Affairs Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said at a press meet.

The East Sea is known internationally as the South China Sea.

Hang's statement was made in response to inquiries regarding Taiwan deploying submarines and ships to patrol and perform drills near the Itu Aba.

"Vietnam resolutely opposes and requests that Taiwan ends its illegal activities and not repeat them in the future," Hang said, reiterating that Vietnam has full legal basis and historical evidence under international law to assert its sovereignty over both the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Spratly archipelagoes.

On November 9, the Taiwan defense ministry confirmed that its Hai Lung submarine has participated in drills near the Itu Aba.

Taiwanese authorities did not specify the time and details of the drills, but said the submarine has the role to "protect sea routes in peaceful times," among others.

The Itu Aba, the largest naturally occurring island in the Spratly archipelago, is illegally occupied by Taiwan.

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