Vietnam condemns China for deploying missiles to Paracel Islands

By Viet Anh   June 14, 2018 | 03:00 pm PT
Vietnam condemns China for deploying missiles to Paracel Islands
A view of Woody Island, part of the flashpoint Paracel chain. Photo by AFP
Latest satellite images show that Chinese surface-to-air missile systems have reappeared on Woody Island.

Vietnam's foreign ministry on Thursday denounced China's recent redeployment of missiles on an island in the Paracel (Hoang Sa) Islands as a serious violation of its sovereignty in the South China Sea, which it calls the East Sea.

The missile redeployment to Woody (Phu Lam) Island has increased tension, threatened regional peace and stability, as well as security, safety, freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, according to the ministry's spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang.

She stressed that Vietnam has full legal basis and historical evidence to assert its sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly (Truong Sa) Islands in accordance with international laws. All activities conducted on the islands without Vietnam's consent are therefore illegal, valueless and violate Vietnam's sovereignty.

"Vietnam requests that China immediately put an end to these wrongful activities and withdraw the military equipments it had illegally deployed on Vietnam's Hoang Sa Islands," Hang said in a statement.

China seized the Paracel Islands from South Vietnam by force in 1974, and has since been illegally occupying the islands. In July 2012, China established a so-called "Sansha City" with Vietnam's Woody Island in the Paracels as its seat.

The so-called city also covers a number of reefs in Vietnam's Spratly Islands that China seized by force in 1988 and the Scarborough Shoal, which is claimed by the Philippines.

Satellite images taken by Israeli satellite company ImageSat International (ISI) on Monday show that a number of surface-to-air missile systems China had deployed on Woody Island in May has reappeared after they disappeared from satellite images taken on June 3.

According to ISI's experts, the missile systems' disappearance could be due to them being dismantled for storage or maintenance, relocated to another island or withdrawn as part of a drill.

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