|The Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh. — File Photo
HA NOI (VNS) — China's activities in the so-called Sansha city have no legal foundation and do not change the fact that the Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago belongs to Viet Nam, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh.
Binh made the remark at the Ministry's regular press conference yesterday while responding to reporters' queries on Viet Nam's response to information in the Chinese People's Daily newspaper that the Sansha city government has been installing high-speed wireless broadcasting equipment on inhabited islands since October 1.
"Viet Nam has rejected the so-called Sansha city many times," he said. "Under any form or for whatever purpose, China's activities in the city have no legal foundation and do not change the fact that Hoang Sa archipelago belongs to Viet Nam."
Regarding Viet Nam's response to the Filipino Diplomat newspaper's comment that China is virtually implementing the Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East Sea, Binh said all activities of the involved parties in the East Sea must respect the sovereignty and jurisdiction of relevant countries.
The activities must be in line with international law and in the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), contributing to the maintenance of peace, stability and aviation, and navigation safety and security in the East Sea, Binh said.
Pertaining to Viet Nam's response to a New York Times report that the US has exchanged with Asian countries on bringing ships to patrol within 12 nautical miles of China's artificial islands in the East Sea, the diplomat said the East Sea holds a crucial role in the Southeast Asian region, as well as across the world.
Countries in and out of the region are equally responsible for maintaining and promoting peace and stability, along with aviation and navigation freedom, safety and security in the East Sea.
The contributions must be based on international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the DOC, in a bid to reach a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) as soon as possible, he added.
Yesterday Binh also commented on the US Department of State's 2014 International Religious Freedom Report.
He said although the document acknowledged Viet Nam's achievements in the field, it regrettably continued to highlight inadequacies and cites erroneous information about Viet Nam.
"Viet Nam's constant policy is respecting and observing citizens' rights to belief and religious freedom as well as non-belief and non-religious freedom," he said. "This has been clarified in our Constitution and legal system and we consistently strive to make sure it is respected in reality."
Viet Nam's law clearly prohibits discrimination against any citizen because of his or her belief and religion, he said, adding that the Vietnamese State had carried out numerous policies and specific measures towards ensuring people's full rights to belief and religious freedom.
These efforts contribute to the formation of a diverse religious life in Viet Nam, he concluded.
No trace of missing
At the same briefing, Binh said Japanese patrol forces had found no hint of three Vietnamese sailors who went missing from a Taiwanese fishing vessel off the coast of the northern Japanese prefecture of Hokkaido.
He said the Vietnamese Embassy in Japan and the Viet Nam Economic and Culture Office in Taipei are working to search for the missing sailors and clarify the cause of the incident.
The embassy is also working with relevant Vietnamese and Japanese agencies to keep the spirits of other sailors up.
Taiwan's ship Hsiang Fur Far reported that on the night of October 8, three Vietnamese crew members jumped into the sea, about 12 km from Hokkaido's Shiraoi Port.
The Japan Coast Guard deployed five ships and two planes to search for the sailors soon after they were informed of the case.
The Taiwanese ship carries a total of 61 crew members, including 21 Vietnamese, 23 Filipinos and 14 Indonesians. — VNS