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Vietnam condemns Taiwan’s “violation” of sovereignty over Ba Binh Island

By Vuong Duc Anh   March 24, 2016 | 06:40 pm PT
Vietnam officials have condemned Taiwan’s sending of journalists to Ba Binh Island, part of the Spratly archipelago, on March 23 as a “serious violation of Vietnam’s sovereignty”.

“Taiwan has disregarded the concerns and objections of Vietnam and the international community by sending reporters to Ba Binh,” Le Hai Binh, Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said on March 24.

“The act has seriously violated Vietnam’s sovereignty and escalated tensions, which does not help with maintaining peace and stability in the East Sea, as well as the standing of bilateral ties,”

According to Binh, Vietnam has a sufficient legal basis and historical evidence to assert “undisputed” sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly Islands. All activities of foreigners carried out in these two areas that are not approved by Vietnamese government are considered “illegal and meaningless”, he said.

Yesterday, a C-130 military aircraft from Taiwan flew in a group of journalists, some of which were reporters from Reuters, CNN and AP. They were guided through various facilities on the island which Vietnam deems to be “illegally built" by Taiwan.

Ba Binh is among the three biggest islands in the Spratly archipelago, which Vietnam claims sovereignty over. Vietnam has accused Taiwan of "illegally" seizing Ba Binh as it has continued to build up infrastructure on the island which now includes a hospital, lighthouse and a fishery support station among others facilities.

Taiwan has also invested more than $100 million to upgrade the island’s runway and constructed a seaport which can shelter 3000-ton marine patrol ships, in addition to frequently sending marine patrols to the area.

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