China announces naval drill in South China Sea (Bien Dong Sea)
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|China's Liaoning aircraft carrier sailing during a drill in the South China Sea in 2018. Photo: AFP/VNA|
China’s Guangdong Maritime Bureau on July 26 announced that the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) of China will conduct an exercise in the South China Sea (Bien Dong Sea).
In a statement on its official website, the bureau said the training maneuver will be held in the waters between Guangdong’s Shangchuan Island and the South China Sea on July 27 at 6:00 p.m. and will last until July 29 at 10:00 p.m, Taiwan News reported.
According to Thanh nien (Young People) newspaper, notices posted on the website of China’s Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) show that China has held or planned at least 25 drills in the South China Sea so far this year, including 10 in the Gulf of Tonkin.
At least 20 drills were also carried out in the South China Sea last year, including nine in the Gulf of Tonkin, and five illegally conducted around Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago.
At a briefing on October 1, 2020, Vietnamese foreign ministry’s spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang responded to a query regarding China’s live-fire drills in the South China Sea.
|Spokesperson for the Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang at the press briefing. Photo: VNA|
She said China's reported live-fire drills in the South China Sea "jeopardise" peace and security in the region.
China's activities near the Hoang Sa archipelago are contrary to the spirit of the existing Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), complicate the situation and are not conducive to Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) talks, she noted.
“Vietnam has sufficient historical evidence and legal basis to assert its sovereignty over the two island chains – Hoang Sa and Truong Sa – which are in conformity with international law,” Hang was cited by Viet Nam News as saying.
Vietnam claims Hoang Sa as its own but the archipelago has been under Chinese control since its violent seizure in the early 70s, the newspaper said.
Vietnam demanded that China end its excursion, respect Vietnam’s sovereignty over the two islands, and refrain from committing similar acts in the future, she said./.
“ASEAN members want to resume negotiations as a means of restraining China’s assertiveness," South China Morning Post quoted an expert in its recent article.
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