Vietnam slams Taiwanese officials' visit to Spratly Island

July 28, 2016 | 02:35 am PT
'All activities in these areas without Vietnam's consent are deemed illegal.'

Vietnam has issued a stern response to the recent trip made by Taiwanese officials to Ba Binh Island in the Spratlys, an island chain in the South China Sea, which Hanoi calls the East Sea.

Vietnam, Taiwan, China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei have overlapping claims to the Spratly Island.

The fact that some Taiwanese officials have visited Ba Binh Island, known internationally as Itu Aba, has seriously violated Vietnam’s territorial sovereignty over the Spratlys, Le Hai Binh, Vietnam’s foreign ministry spokesman, said in a statement Thursday.

“Vietnam affirms its indisputable sovereignty over Truong Sa (the Spratlys) and Hoang Sa (the Paracels). All activities in these areas without Vietnam's consent are deemed illegal,” Binh said.

“Vietnam resolutely opposes [the activity] and urges Taiwan not to commit similar violations to help maintain peace and stability in the East Sea,” Binh continued, adding that Hanoi believes that such moves would escalate tensions in the region.

The Taiwanese visit took place at a time of simmering tension in the flashpoint waters after an international court in the Hague on July 12 rejected China's sweeping claims to large swaths of the South China Sea.

Neither China nor Taiwan has accepted the ruling. Taiwan has said that the decision on Itu Aba, its sole holding in the Spratlys, "seriously impaired" its territorial rights.

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