Vietnam denounces Taiwan’s live-fire drill in South China Sea

By Huyen Le   March 21, 2019 | 07:07 pm PT
Vietnam denounces Taiwan’s live-fire drill in South China Sea
Ba Binh (Itu Aba) Island as seen on Google Maps.
Vietnam has denounced Taiwan's live-fire drill plan near Itu Aba Island in the Spratly Archipelago as a serious violation of its sovereignty.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said Thursday: "The fact that Taiwan, despite Vietnam’s protest, has repeatedly performed live-fire drills in the seas surrounding the Ba Binh (internationally known as Itu Aba) Island in the Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands of Vietnam is a serious violation of Vietnam’s sovereignty over the archipelago."

"It threatens peace, stability, safety, and maritime security as well as inducing tension and complicating the situation in the East Sea," Hang said at a press briefing, using the Vietnamese name for the South China Sea.

Taiwan's coast guards announced on March 12 to perform live-fire drills on the Itu Aba Island from March 20 to 21, using 120 mortars, 40 anti-air cannons and anti-armor AT4 weapon.

Hang said that Vietnam has full legal grounds and historical evidence to assert "indisputable sovereignty" over the Spratly and Paracel archipelagoes in accordance with international law.

"Once again, Vietnam vehemently protests and asks that Taiwan not perform similar actions."

Ba Binh, the largest naturally occurring island in the Truong Sa Archipelago, which Vietnam asserts sovereignty over, is currently occupied by Taiwan.

Vietnam had earlier voiced against Taiwan’s live-fire drills around the island in March and November last year.

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