Vietnam demands China to stop military exercises in Paracel islands

Vietnam has condemned China’s latest military drill in Hoang Sa (Paracel) islands as a move against the country’s territorial integrity and regional peace.
China's Liaoning aircraft carrier sailing during a drill in the South China Sea in 2018. (AFP/VNA Photo)
China's Liaoning aircraft carrier sailing during a drill in the South China Sea in 2018. (AFP/VNA Photo)

The statement was made by Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang on Wednesday over reported Chinese naval exercises and live-fire drills in a part of the Paracels lying within the hotly contested South China Sea (known in Vietnam as the East Sea) on August 24-29.

“The repeated military exercises that China conducts in the Spratly islands violate Vietnam’s sovereignty over the islands, go against the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), complicate the situation and is not conducive to the ongoing negotiations between China and ASEAN on the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea and the maintenance of peaceful, stable, and cooperative environment in the South China Sea,” Hang said.

Vietnam asks that China respects Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Paracel islands, cancel the drills and refrain from committing similar transgressions, Hang continued.

China seized de facto control of the Paracels by force from Vietnam in a violent battle in 1974.

Earlier in August, China has sent jet bomber to Phu Lam (Woody) island in the Paracels, earning protests from Vietnam.

Hang reiterated that Spratly and Truong Sa (Spratly) islands in the South China Sea are “inseparable parts of Vietnam” and that the country has sufficient legal basis and historical evidence to prove its sovereignty over the two island chains in the South China Sea.