Vietnam calls for calm after China performs drill in flashpoint waters

By Khanh Lynh, Van Viet   April 20, 2017 | 06:36 pm PT
Vietnam calls for calm after China performs drill in flashpoint waters
A Chinese J-11 fighter jet is pictured on the airstrip at Woody Island in the South China Sea in this March 29, 2017 handout satellite photo. CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/DigitalGlobe/Handout via Reuters
Chinese forces, including helicopters and landing craft, took part in the live-fire drill.

The Vietnamese government has urged for calm following China's military exercises in the South China Sea, known in Vietnam as the East Sea.

“All countries need to act responsibly, constructively and in accordance with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), in order to maintain peace and stability in the East Sea,” said Vietnamese foreign ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang.

Hang was speaking at a regular press conference on Thursday following journalists' questions regarding China's recent live-fire exercise in the disputed waters.

Beijing claimed it was a regular exercise involving landing craft and helicopters, CCTV News reported on April 11. However, the site did not disclose the timing of the exercise.

China routinely outlines the scope of its territorial claims through maps featuring a so-called nine-dash line - a demarcation that includes about 90 percent of the 3.5-million-square-kilometer South China Sea. But these maps have been emphatically rejected by international experts and fly in the face of competing claims by four ASEAN members including Vietnam.

However, negotiations between China and ASEAN are making progress towards a framework for a code of conduct in the disputed waters. Official negotiations for the code of conduct are expected to be held this May.

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