China's drills on Vietnam's Paracel Islands a sovereignty violation

By Tien Tam   June 23, 2022 | 04:20 am PT
China's drills on Vietnam's Paracel Islands a sovereignty violation
Parts of the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. Photo by AFP
China's drills on Vietnam's Paracel Islands are a violation of Vietnam's sovereignty that complicates the South China Sea situation, foreign ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said Thursday.

Hang said that China's actions "have severely violated Vietnam's sovereignty over the islands, gone against the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, complicated the situation and is not beneficial for current negotiation processes between China and ASEAN for a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea and the maintenance of peace, stability and cooperation in the sea."

The South China Sea is known as the East Sea in Vietnam.

Hang was responding to questions about an announcement by the Hainan Department for Ocean Affairs on June 13 about a Chinese military drill on June 19 on a north-western area of the Paracel Islands. The announcement barred vessels from entering the area during the drill.

"Vietnam resolutely protests any action that violates the sovereignty and relevant rights regarding the islands," Hang said.

Responding to another question about Japanese media reports that said China plans to create "internal waters" on the South China Sea, Hang said "Vietnam believes that countries share a common desire and goal to maintain and foster peace, stability and cooperation for development in the East Sea, as well as resolving conflicts in accordance with international law and UNCLOS."

Vietnam affirms its sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly islands in accordance with international law, as well as the sovereignty, sovereignty rights and jurisdiction rights on sea regions as determined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), she said.

On June 18, the Sankei had reported that China was trying to establish its "internal waters" in the South China Sea and forbade foreign vessels from entering them, but the paper did not mention specifics.

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