Vietnam demands withdrawal of Chinese military aircraft from Paracel Islands

By Viet Anh, Vuong Anh   April 14, 2016 | 04:20 am PT
Hanoi formally requested Beijing to stop sending military fighter jets to Vietnam's Paracel Islands at a press conference held today.

China is thought to have sent 16 J-11 fighter jets to Phu Lam Island. Photo: Star and Stripes

Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokeperson Le Hai Binh said that China's decision to send 16 J-11 fighter jets to Phu Lam Island in the Paracel Archipelago was a serious encroachment on Vietnam's sovereignty that threatened peace and stability in the region.

“Vietnam resolutely objects and strongly requests China to cease its infringement of Vietnam’s sovereignty on the Paracel Islands by withdrawing its military fighters from the area and not repeating the act,” Binh said.

U.S. officials recently stated that China had sent 16 J-11 fighters to Phu Lam Island in the Paracel Archipelago, and declared that the number of fighters was “unprecedented”. In November last year, Beijing also sent the same type of fighter to Phu Lam Island, while the most recent squadron was in February though the number of planes was low.

Binh reiterated that China, permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and a country with important role in the region, must act constructively and responsibly to preserve peace and stability in the region on the basis of international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).

Satellite photos released by the U.S. media showed that China has installed a radar system on Phu Lam Island designed to launch HQ-9 anti-air missiles that were positioned there in February. 

China invaded Vietnam's Paracel Islands in 1974 and illegally built the so-called "Sansha city" in 2012.

Many countries around the world has expressed concerns over the military bases being built by Bejing. The G7 Summit held in Japan recently issued a statement showing objection to unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the region in the South China Sea (Vietnam's East Sea), calling on all parties to comply with international law.

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