Vietnam protests Chinese military exercises in East Sea

By Vu Ngoc   July 2, 2020 | 01:58 am PT
Vietnam protests Chinese military exercises in East Sea
Approximate location of China's military exercises near Vietnam's Paracel Islands in the East Sea on Google Maps.
Vietnam has sent a diplomatic note to protest China illegally performing military exercises near Paracel Islands, urging non-repetition of the incident.

"China performing military exercises at Paracel Islands has violated Vietnam’s sovereignty, complicating negotiations for a Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (COC) between China and ASEAN, as well as affecting peace," spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang of Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press meet Thursday.

Vietnam has been in contact with and sent a diplomatic note to China, requesting it to not repeat such actions in future, said Hang.

The Maritime Safety Administration of China's Hainan Province on Monday announced plans to hold military exercises near Vietnam's Paracel Islands from Wednesday to Sunday.

It said on its website no vessel is to enter the area in the South China Sea, which Vietnam calls the East Sea, while drills are underway.

In August last year, China also illegally performed live fire drills near Vietnam's Paracel Islands.

The incident comes amid international concern over China's recent actions in the South China Sea. The country has been ramping up its aggressive behavior in the waters since the start of this year as other countries focus on combating the Covid-19 pandemic.

It has created the so-called "Xisha" and "Nansha" districts on Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands, sunk Vietnamese fishing vessels off the former, unilaterally issued a fishing ban and sent a ship to harass a Malaysian oil and gas exploration vessel.

Vietnam has on multiple occasions condemned China’s illegal actions in the East Sea, claiming full legal basis and historical evidence to affirm its sovereignty over the Spratly and Paracel Islands in accordance with international law. All activities conducted by any party near either island without prior consent from Vietnam hold no value, it has stressed.

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