|Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Le Hai Binh. — File Photo
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam resolutely rejects the viewpoints in the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman's statement on Monday regarding the flights of Chinese planes to an illegally built airstrip on Chu Thap (Fiery Cross) Reef in Viet Nam's Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago.
Spokesman for the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Le Hai Binh made the remark yesterday, reiterating Vietnam's indisputable sovereignty over the Truong Sa as well as the Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelagos.
When a representative of the Chinese Embassy in Ha Noi announced to a representative of the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry on December 30, 2015, that Chinese civil planes would conduct flights to Fiery Cross Reef, Viet Nam immediately objected to it, and demanded China cancel that action, Binh noted.
China declaring the flights to Fiery Cross Reef its own "national aviation activities" is actually aimed at asserting the country's unfounded sovereignty claim over Truong Sa archipelago, which seriously infringes Viet Nam's sovereignty over the chain of islands, he added.
The spokesman said China's flights to Fiery Cross Reef, under any name, affected aviation security, safety and freedom over the East Sea and ran counter to international regulations, including the 1944 Chicago Convention (Convention on International Civil Aviation) and the annexes on rules of flights in international airspace, especially Annex 2 and 11.
"Once again, Vietnam demands China stop flights to Fiery Cross Reef, not conduct further actions that violate Vietnam's sovereignty, and contribute practically to maintaining peace and stability in the region as well as security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea," he stressed.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Viet Nam (CAAV) said that the Ho Chi Minh Flight Information Region's management agency did not receive any notifications of flight plans from China, as China had stated.
The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman also put forward a number of wrong and dangerous arguments to defend the country's recent test flights to a reef in the East Sea, the CAAV noted.
At a regular press conference on Monday, Spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hong Lei answered questions regarding the CAAV's press communique on Chinese airplane operations in the Ho Chi Minh Flight Information Region (FIR).
He stated that China's test flights to the newly built airstrip on so-called Yongshu Island, which is internationally known as Fiery Cross Reef, were activities totally within China's sovereignty.
That statement intentionally asserted that the air corridor from China's Hainan Island through the Ho Chi Minh FIR to Fiery Cross Reef was within China's air sovereignty. It is completely false and groundless and directly imperils the civil aviation's normal activities and safety over the East Sea, the CAAV said.
China also declared that its planes' flights into and across international air routes, which were set up by relevant countries and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), were totally within the country's freedom and exempt from international civil-aviation rules.
Such a declaration clearly provoked Viet Nam's and the international aviation community's deep concerns over the responsibility nations have towards ensuring aviation safety, the CAAV said.
The CAAV completely rejected Chinese spokesman Hong Lei's statement and determinedly opposed this action, the authority noted, demanding the Chinese side to immediate stop current and future flights to the island.
"Viet Nam's aviation management agencies are exerting efforts to closely monitor and guarantee the absolute safety of normal flights in the FIRs under its management," said CAAV.
Additionally, the CAAV and the Viet Nam Air Traffic Management Corporation checked official documents, messages, faxes, emails and telegrams at all relevant agencies and units listed in Viet Nam's Aeronautical Information Publication and the phone call history of Vietnam's relevant air traffic services units from 0:00 am of December 28 to December 29.
There were no notifications of the above-mentioned flights sent by the Chinese Embassy, as the embassy had stated, the CAAV emphasised.
The authority added that the Chinese diplomatic agency's notification to a Vietnamese diplomatic agency could not replace the proper announcement of flights, nor the correct establishment of contact with the air traffic services provider in a controlled airspace. — VNS