Vietnam slams China’s new cinema on seized island

By Vi Vu   August 1, 2017 | 02:26 am PT
Vietnam slams China’s new cinema on seized island
Part of a city developed by China on Woody Island in the Paracel chain. Photo by AFP
The statement comes a week after the new Chinese leisure complex made international headlines.

Vietnam’s foreign ministry has objected to a cinema China has built on the Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands, calling it a violation of Vietnam’s territorial rights and international laws.

Le Thi Thu Hang, the foreign ministry's spokesperson, said in a statement Tuesday that the move “cannot change Vietnam’s sovereignty over the islands”.

She said Vietnam has enough legal foundation and historical evidence to prove its rights over the Paracels and Spratlys, another island chain in the East Sea, the Vietnamese reference for the South China Sea.

“Vietnam objects to this and demands that China not repeat similar actions,” she said.

China opened the cinema last month on Woody Island in the Paracels. The island is home to around 1,000 people, and China has been developing it into a city it calls Sansha.

China invaded the Paracel Islands in 1974, as American forces withdrew from the region, abandoning a naval unit of the then U.S.-backed Republic of Vietnam to a brief but bloody assault.

Vietnam's behemoth northern neighbor has illegally occupied the islands ever since; re-unified Vietnam has never relinquished its sovereignty over the Paracel Islands.

The Spratly island chain is claimed in part or whole by China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

An international tribunal in The Hague last year dismissed most of China’s claims in the South China Sea, but Beijing has rejected the ruling.

Since then it has continued reclaimation activities and has been developing large numbers of islands in the Spratlys to press its territorial claims.

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