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Sep 23, 2021 / 21:35

Vietnam protests China’s dispatch of transport aircraft to Spratly islands

This is the first time China has confirmed the presence of Y-20 aircraft in Truong Sa (Spratly).

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs opposed China’s dispatch of Y-20 large transport aircraft to Yongshu Reef, Zhubi Reef and Meiji Reef in Vietnam’s Spratly Islands for troop transport missions.

 Vietnamese spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang. Photo: MOFA

Vietnamese Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang was answering the reporter’s queries about this issue at the ministry’s regular press briefing held on Sept. 23.

“Vietnam has sufficient historical evidence and legal basis to assert its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos in accordance with international law,” Hang said.

The Vietnamese spokesperson stressed that China’s act infringes Vietnam’s sovereignty over the islands of Paracel and Spratly, escalates militarization, goes against the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (referring to the South China Sea) (DOC), the Vietnam-China Agreement on Basic Principles Governing the Settlement of Sea-Related Issues, and the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

“Vietnam demands that China respect its sovereignty, stop and not to repeat any similar actions so as to make practical contributions to the development of Vietnam – China ties and a peaceful, stable and cooperative environment in the East Sea”, Hang stated.

New evidence on Vietnam’s sovereignty

A British scholar - Bill Hayton, recently discovered and posted on his Twitter account an ancient document from the Chinese Qing Dynasty (1644-1912), in which Qing officials themselves said that the Paracel Islands did not belong to China.

Answering queries over the letter, Hang repeated Vietnam’s affirmation that the country has full evidence and legal basis to assert its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) islands in accordance with international law. “The document presented by scholar Bill Hayton contributes to prove this”, Hang said.

The Global Times on September 21 reported that the Chinese People's Liberation Army dispatched Y-20 large transport aircraft to reefs for troop transport missions, and conducted amphibious landing drills.

China’s first indigenously-developed heavy military transport aircraft, Y-20, was built by Xi’an Aircraft Industry (Group), a part of Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). It is also the biggest domestic strategic airlifter ever built in China.

The aircraft can be deployed in the transportation of personnel and heavy equipment during military assault, and humanitarian assistance, and peacekeeping missions. It can also be configured for airborne early warning and control (AEW&C), anti-submarine warfare (ASW), and aerial refuelling missions.