Vietnam opposes violation of East Sea sovereignty

By Vu Anh, Nguyen Tien   March 28, 2024 | 05:27 am PT
Vietnam opposes violation of East Sea sovereignty
A group of Filipinos were present on the Sandy Cay, part of Vietnam's Spratly Islands, on March 21, 2024. Photo by AP
An official statement on Thursday declared that bringing people into areas under Vietnamese sovereignty without government approval violates the nation's sovereignty under international law.

"Vietnam has full legal basis and historical evidence to assert sovereignty over the Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago," deputy spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Duc Thang told a press meet.

He was responding to inquiries regarding activities by China and the Philippines at Sandy Cay, which is part of Vietnam’s Spratly Islands.

Thang said Vietnam’s sovereignty over the islands aligns with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

"The act of involved parties sending individuals on entities that fall under Vietnam’s sovereignty without Vietnam’s permission constitutes as a violation of Vietnam’s sovereignty," he said, adding that the act complicates the situation and goes against the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), as well as the efforts of countries in negotiating for a South China Sea Code of Conduct (COC).

Vietnam calls the South China Sea the East Sea.

Thang said Vietnam is willing to cooperate with relevant parties to resolve conflicts regarding the sovereignty and territory at the East Sea, including the Spratly Islands, through peaceful methods in accordance with international law.

Philippine authorities on March 22 said Chinese coast guard vessels, along with helicopters, had tried to obstruct the Philippines’ official vessels a day prior. The Philippine vessels were carrying a group of people, who were deemed researchers coming to Sandy Cay to study its biodiversity. The people on the Philippine vessels were present at Sandy Cay for about four hours before leaving.

Gan Yu, spokesman for the Chinese coast guards, said China’s law enforcement has also been present on Sandy Cay, where 34 Philippine people were at the time mentioned.

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