Spokesperson for the foreign ministry Le Thi Thu Hang during a press briefing in Hanoi said that Chinese Taipei’s holding of military live ammunition exercises around the Ba Bình (Taiping) island on November 24 as part of Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago constituted a “grave violation of Vietnamese territory, sovereign rights.”
She added that the act jeopardised peace, security, stability, safety of navigation, and further complicates matters in the South China Sea (known in Vietnam as the East Sea).
“Vietnam strongly opposes such action and demands that Taiwan ceases the undertaking of the illegal exercise, and to refrain from similar acts in the future,” Hang said.
The Vietnamese foreign ministry’s spokesperson also criticised the latest moves by China, including Hainan island’s recent announcement to in December resume cruise routes to the so-called Xisha island, the Chinese name for Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago, the control of which was violently seized by China during the 70s, along with the Chinese navy’s receiving of the hospital ship Nanyi-13 on Chu Thap (Fiery Cross) reef in Vietnam’s Truong Sa archipelago.
“As we have stated on many occasions, all activities conducted in the two archipelagos Truong Sa and Hoang Sa without Vietnam’s permission are encroaching on Vietnam’s sovereignty and infringing on international law, and are completely null and void,” spokeswoman Hang said.
Vietnam asks that China respect Vietnam’s sovereignty over the two island chains, put an end to actions that threaten to escalate tensions in the region, go against the Declaration of Conduct in the South China Sea (DOC) and undermine efforts to maintain a peaceful, stable, and cooperative environment in the South China Sea.
These actions are not facilitating the ongoing talks on the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea and not conducive to Vietnam-China’s relations, Hang added.
The Vietnamese diplomat also asserted that Vietnam has sufficient legal basis and historical evidence to affirm its sovereignty over Hoàang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos pursuant with international law.