The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs convened a regular press meeting on Thursday afternoon, answering questions from local and international news agencies regarding recent developments in the East Vietnam Sea.
Chairing the conference, Le Hai Binh, the ministry’s spokesperson, addressed the latest incident in which two Chinese civil aircraft landed on airfields illegally constructed on Da Vanh Khan (Mischief Reef) and Subi Reef, part of Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago, on Tuesday.
On Monday, China’s Ministry of Transport announced the completion of four lighthouses on several islands in Truong Sa, Spokesperson Binh added.
“Vietnam has sufficient legal grounds and historic evidence to affirm its sovereignty over Truong Sa and Hoang Sa [Paracel] archipelagoes,” the diplomat reiterated.
China carrying out the activities despite opposition from Vietnam and the concern of the international community is a serious violation of Vietnamese territory, Binh stated, adding that such actions would not change the fact that the two archipelagoes belong to the Southeast Asian nation.
Hanoi demands that Beijing stop its infringements, strictly abide by international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Vietnam Sea (DOC), and not complicate situations in the maritime area.
Regarding reports that ASEAN will not issue a statement following the recent ruling of the international arbitral tribunal in The Hague , the spokesman asserted that preserving peace, stability, and freedom of aviation and navigation in the East Vietnam Sea is the interest and responsibility of all nations.
“ASEAN’s consistent stance is to resolve all disputes via peaceful measures in accordance with the United Nations Charter and international law, contributing to the maintenance of peace and stability as well as the enhancement of cooperation with other partners,” Binh elaborated.
ASEAN is short for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which is a political and economic organization whose members include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Judges at an arbitration tribunal in The Hague on Tuesday rejected China's claims to economic rights across large swathes of the East Vietnam Sea in a ruling that many have considered a victory for the Philippines, according to Reuters.
Answering a question from AFP with regard to Vietnam’s reaction after the court ruling, Binh stated that the Southeast Asian country would issue a statement about the decision after it had been thoroughly examined.
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