Countries urged to actively contribute to maintaining peace, stability in Vietnam's Bien Dong Sea (South China Sea)

Vietnam wishes that countries continue to actively contribute to maintaining peace and stability on the basis of international law in the Bien Dong Sea (also called East Sea), Foreign Ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang said on February 25.
February 26, 2021 | 16:59
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SNA Emeraude submarine (Photo: Internet)

The spokesperson made the remark when replying to several questions from reporters on developments in the Bien Dong Sea at a regular press conference of the Foreign Ministry held virtually, according to the VNA.

Commenting on the announcement of French Defence Minister Florence Parly that the country has deployed the SNA Emeraude submarine on a patrol in the Bien Dong Sea, Hang said maintaining peace, stability, order, security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation, the rule of law, and respect for countries’ sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction in the Bien Dong Sea in accordance with the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982) is the goal, the interest, the responsibility and the wish shared by all countries and the international community.

Countries’ activities in the Bien Dong Sea should contribute to this common goal, she stressed.

“As a responsible member of the international community and a member of the 1982 UNCLOS, Vietnam complies to the convention’s stipulations, including regulations regarding maritime and aviation activities in the waters designated in accordance with the convention,” the spokesperson said.

Vietnam has sufficient historical and legal evidence to prove its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos in line with international law, national sovereignty, sovereignty rights, and jurisdiction over the waters in accordance with the 1982 UNCLOS, and it will resolutely and persistently take measures in line with international law to protect those legal and legitimate rights, she said on February 4, cited VOV.

"Vietnam requires relevant countries respect its sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction in the East Sea, and have the responsibility to enforce international law and the 1982 UNCLOS in good faith, without actions to increase tensions, and actively contribute to building trust, maintaining peace and stability, promoting international order at sea, and security, safety, and freedom of navigation in the Bien Dong Sea," the spokesperson said.

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Satellite photo shows the North Island, part of the Paracel Islands group in the South China Sea, on September 29, 2017. Photo by Planet Labs/Handout via Reuters.

Also, Vietnam has called for all parties to maintain peace in the South China Sea following recent presence of US warships near its Paracel and Spratly archipelagos to challenge Beijing’s claims.

Hang said maintaining peace, stability, order, security, safety, freedom of navigation and overflight, obeying the law, respecting sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction of countries along the East Sea in accordance with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) should be the common goal, interest, responsibility and aspiration of all concerned states as well as the international community.

"The activities of all countries in the Bien Dong Sea need to contribute to this common goal. As a responsible member of the international community and a member of UNCLOS, Vietnam abides by the convention's provisions, including regulations relating to maritime and aviation operations in the sea area that have been set up in accordance with the convention," she added.

The destroyer USS John S. McCain on February 5 sailed near Vietnam's Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands in the Bien Dong Sea in a freedom of navigation operation, marking the first such mission under President Joe Biden’s new administration, reported Vnexpress.

On February 17, U.S. destroyer USS Russell conducted another freedom of navigation operation, sailing near Vietnam's Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands.

Washington has denounced what it calls Beijing’s attempts to bully neighbors with competing interests; and China has similarly denounced what it calls U.S. efforts to foment unrest in the region and interfere in what it regards as its internal affairs.

The recent actions suggest that the Biden administration is not about to scale back operations challenging Beijing’s claims after the ramp-up seen during the Trump administration, analysts have noted.

China seized the Paracel Islands from South Vietnam by force in 1974, and has been illegally occupying a number of reefs in the Spratly Islands since 1988.

Vietnam has repeatedly affirmed that it has full legal basis and historical evidence to assert its sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly islands in the South China Sea in accordance with international law.

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