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FM spokesperson: Countries need to act responsibly in East Sea

06:29 | 12/06/2020

Countries need to act responsibly, not complicate the situation, and contribute to preserving peace and security in the East Sea, Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang made the call while responding to questions regarding China placing undersea cables in the Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago, at the ministry’s regular press conference on June 11.

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fm spokesperson countries need to act responsibly in east sea
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang (Photo: VNA)

“Vietnam has sufficient historical evidence and legal grounds affirming its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes in accordance with international law,” she stressed.

"Therefore, any activity relating to the two archipelagoes conducted without Vietnam’s permission are violations of its sovereignty and of no value."

Recent vessel tracking software and satellite imagery appear to show a Chinese ship laying illegally underwater cables between outposts in Vietnam's Hoang Sa archipelagoes in the East Sea (known internationally as the South China Sea).

Accordingly, vessel-tracking software revealed the Chinese-flagged Tian Yi Hai Gong ship sailed to the Paracel Islands on May 28.

Detailed imagery appears to show the vessel laying cables between Tree Island (Dao Cay), North Island (Dao Bac) and Woody Island (Dao Phu Lam) – the largest of the Paracels.

The ship then continued to sail southwest on June 5 and visited three other key military outposts on Drummond Island (Dao Duy Mong), Yagong Island (Dao Ba Ba) and Observation Bank (Bai Xa Cu).

fm spokesperson countries need to act responsibly in east sea
A satellite photo shows the Chinese cable ship Tian Yi Hai Gong just north of Tree Island, June 4, 2020. Image: Planet Labs

Answering questions on Vietnam’s response to the US sending a letter to the UN on June 3 protesting China’s claims of sovereignty over the East Sea, Hang highlighted the attention Vietnam has paid to the circulation of documents by many UN member countries during the past expressing their views on the East Sea situation.

The circulation of such documents occurs regularly between UN member countries, she added.

Vietnam’s stance on the East Sea issue, covering sovereignty, sovereign rights, and legal maritime rights is clear and consistent and has been repeated many times.

Vietnam has sufficient historical evidence and legal grounds affirming its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes as well as legal rights to its waters as defined in line with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), she reiterated.

The international community and the UN, she added, attach importance to UN member states’ views that promote and observe international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.

China seized the Hoang Sa Islands from South Vietnam by force in 1974 and has since been occupying them illegally. China also formed what’s called the “Sansha City” on Woody Island since 2012, with the intention of taking control of islands in the East Sea. China has also been illegally building artificial islands in recent years.

Vietnam has requested China many times to stop its illegal actions, which complicate the situation and threaten peace and stability in the East Sea. Vietnam also sent a diplomatic note to the United Nations to protest China’s unfounded sovereignty claims over the East Sea./.

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