Jun 24, 2021 / 20:29

Vietnam slams presence of China ship in Spratlys

Satellite imagery showed Chinese maritime patrol aircraft and ship at Fiery Cross Reef of Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands.

Hanoi said all activities that infringe Vietnam’s sovereignty over Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago are illegal and void.

 China ship presents at Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands. Photo: MAXAR

Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang of Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) made the protest following the presence of a Chinese military surveillance ship and aircraft at Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands.

Satellite imagery earlier this month provided by Maxar showed a Type-815G intelligence-gathering ship in the lagoon at the reef. On the airfield, there are a Chinese Navy Y-8Q maritime patrol aircraft and a KJ-500 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) plane, according to the US Navy Institute (USNI).

Hang reaffirmed that Vietnam has sufficient historical evidence and legal ground to assert its sovereignty over Truong Sa and Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands in line with international law in a comment regarding the information that China has conducted a project to tag names for flora population in Paracels.

“In the context of the current regional and international situation, Vietnam requests the parties not to take actions to complicate the situation, actively contributing to maintaining peace and stability in the East Sea (referring to the South China Sea) and expediting the negotiation of the Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (COC),” Hang said at the press conference on June 24.

Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang of Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the press conference on June 24. Photo: MoFA  

Fiery Cross Reef, a rock located in Vietnam’s Spratly Islands, was seized by China in 1988. Since then, Beijing illegally built artificial islands, runways, lighthouses, civil and military constructions there.

South China Sea - an important global shipping route

In another move, Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the UN, once again affirmed that the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) regulates all activities in the oceans and seas, helping guarantee safety, security, and freedom of navigation and maintaining international peace and security.

With regard to the South China Sea, Quy stated that it is an important global shipping route, he said at the 31st Meeting of the States Parties to the 1982 UNCLOS taking place at the UN headquarters in New York on June 21-25.

The maintenance of freedom of navigation there is therefore critical to regional and international peace and development, he noted.

The ambassador expressed his concern over some recent incidents in the South China Sea that have seriously violated Vietnam’s sovereignty and jurisdiction.

All disputes must be settled by peaceful means in accordance with international law, including the UN Charter and the 1982 UNCLOS, with respect to diplomatic and legal processes, and without the use of force or threats to use force, he reaffirmed.

He called on the relevant parties to exercise self-restraint and conduct no militarization or military activities complicating the situation or escalating disputes and affecting safety and freedom of navigation and overflight in the sea.

Ratified by 168 states, the 1982 UNCLOS, which took effect on November 16, 1994, is a major international instrument with universal validity and covers a wide range of activities at sea.