Vietnam demands China stop building weather stations in Vietnamese territory

By Vu Anh   November 8, 2018 | 11:12 pm PT
Vietnam demands China stop building weather stations in Vietnamese territory
An aerial view shows the Pagasa Island, part of the Spratly group of islands. Photo by Reuters/Rolex Dela Pena
Vietnam has denounced and demanded an immediate stop to China’s illegal construction of weather stations in its territory.

Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said Thursday that the stations were within the bounds of Vietnam’s Spratly Islands.

"The fact that China has put weather observatory stations on artificial structures within the Spratly Islands to use has seriously violated Vietnam’s sovereignty over the islands.

"Vietnam firmly opposes (China’s actions) and demands China ceases its actions," she said at a press meet.

"Vietnam asks that China comply with the Basic Principles on Resolving Maritime Issues between the two countries, as well as the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), to not complicate current situations or affect peace, security and stability in the East Sea," she said, using the Vietnamese name for the waters.

Last week, three weather observatory stations were illegally placed on the Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief reefs of Vietnam’s Spratly Islands by China.

The stations include equipment for basic ground and atmospheric observation as well as weather radars, which can be used together for constant monitoring of meteorological indicators.

They serve to "ensure navigational safety in the South China Sea," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a press briefing last week.

Vietnam has repeatedly declared it has full legal basis and historical evidence to assert its sovereignty over the Spratly and Paracel Islands.

In May, Vietnam's Foreign Ministry denounced China's installation of missiles on outposts in the Spratly Islands as a serious violation of sovereignty.

The ministry also voiced its objection after a CNBC report said that China had installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef and Mischief Reef.

China seized the Paracels from South Vietnam by force in 1974 and has been illegally occupying a number of reefs in the Spratlys since 1988.

In recent years, China has illegally converted seven reefs in the Spratly Islands into artificial islands with runways capable of receiving military aircraft.

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