Vietnam slams illegal aircraft landings on Spratly Islands

By Vu Anh   September 23, 2021 | 04:30 am PT
Vietnam slams illegal aircraft landings on Spratly Islands
Satellite image of an Y-20 aircraft illegally landing on the Fiery Cross Reef of the Spratly Islands in December 2020. Photo courtesy of Maxar Technologies
Vietnam expressed strong opposition Thursday to China illegally landing its aircraft on Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago as a violation of its sovereignty.

Responding to a query about China sending its transport aircraft Y-20 to illegally take off from and land on the Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief reefs, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said: "Vietnam requests that China respect Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa islands, immediately end and not repeat such actions; respect international law and mutual awareness among the leaders of Vietnam and China on maritime issues."

The Global Times, China’s state-run newspaper, said China landed the aircraft on the runway of (illegally built) artificial islands on September 16 to transport its soldiers back to China.

Hang said China’s actions have violated Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Spratly Islands and broken international law, increasing militarization, going against the fundamental principles to resolve maritime issues between Vietnam and China, the Declaration of Conduct of Parties on the South China Sea and the efforts of countries in negotiation for a Code of Conduct of Parties on the South China Sea.

"Vietnam requests that China make practical, positive and responsible contributions to the development of the friendly relationship and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries, as well as maintaining an environment of peace, stability and cooperation on the South China Sea," Hang said.

She reiterated that Vietnam has full legal basis and historical evidence to assert its sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly islands in accordance with international law.

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