Japan and the US have expressed their concern over China’s testing landing of a plane on an airstrip illegally built on Chu Thap (Fiery Cross) Reef in Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago.
Japan’s Kyodo News Agency quoted Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida as saying at a press briefing on January 4th that Japan is gravely concerned about China's act, which is a unilateral change of the status quo in the East Sea as well as the attempt to make Beijing's massive and fast-paced land reclamation work in the seas “a fait accompli.”
Japan cannot accept the act which is escalating tensions in the region, he said, noting that Japan will continue to cooperate with other countries concerned to protect the freedom of the seas.
China's airstrip illegally built on Chu Thap (Fiery Cross) Reef in Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago (Source: AFP)
The US State Department’s Spokeswoman Pooja Jhunjhunwala was also quoted by Reuters on January 2nd as saying that the flight has exacerbated tensions.
She called on relevant sides to actively reduce tensions by refraining from unilateral actions that undermine regional stability, and taking steps to create space for meaningful diplomatic solutions to emerge.
Responding to China’s test flight, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Spokesperson Le Hai Binh on January 2 said the act seriously violates Vietnam’s sovereignty over Truong Sa archipelago and runs counter to the common perception reached by the two countries’ high-ranking leaders, the agreement on basic principles guiding the settlement of Vietnam – China issues at sea and the spirit of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea.
It has undermined peace and stability in the East Sea, eroded bilateral political trust and negatively impacted the neighbourliness and good sentiments between the two peoples, he added.
Vietnam resolutely protests against China’s pilot flight and asks the country to immediately end, not to repeat such an action and take practical and specific acts to contribute to maintaining peace, stability, security, maritime and aviation safety and freedom in the East Sea, Binh said./.