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Jun 11, 2021 / 06:41

Vietnam opposes sovereignty violations on Spratly Islands

Hanoi said it slams all acts that infringe upon its sovereignty rights on the islands.

Vietnam has reiterated the sovereignty over Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago and slammed all violations.

 Vietnam's Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang at the press conference on June 10. Photo: Baoquocte

Vietnamese Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs made the statement when commenting on the visit to Thitu Island in Truong Sa by the Philippine military chief.

Hang said at the press conference on Thursday [June 10] that Vietnam strongly opposes all activities that infringe its sovereignty and jurisdiction on the islands.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Wednesday reported that its Chief Cirilito Sobejana visited Thitu (called Pagasa by the Philippines) on Monday to proceed with the building plans for future patrols and logistics. In 2020, Manila spent PHP1.3 billion (US$27 million) to upgrade structures on the island, including runways.

With an area of 37.2 hectares, Thitu is the second largest of Vietnam’s Truong Sa archipelago. It is simultaneously claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines and China.

The Vietnamese spokesperson said Vietnam requests that relevant parties respect Vietnam’s sovereignty and international law, abide by the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), without taking actions that complicate the situation.

She noted that all parties should positively contribute to the maintenance of peace and stability in the East Sea (South China Sea), as well as create conducive environments for negotiations for a Code of Conduct on the South China Sea (COC).

 Construction on Thitu Island in October 2019. Image: CSIS/MAXAR

In response to the China Coast Guard’s presence on Triton Island in Vietnam’s Hoang Sa archipelago, Hang said Vietnamese authorities have closely monitored all activities in Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes, as well as Vietnam’s waters in the East Sea.

“As repeatedly affirmed, Vietnam has sufficient historical evidence and legal basis to assert its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) islands in accordance with international law,” she noted.

China seized Paracel Islands from Vietnam in bloody battles in 1974.

Regarding the news on China’s support of Cambodia’s Ream naval base, Hang said Vietnam attaches importance to the traditional friendship with both China and Cambodia and hopes the two countries actively contribute to the peace, security, stability, and prosperity in the region and the world.