Monday, December 18 2017

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VN protests Taiwan live-fire drill

Update: March, 31/2017 - 09:00
Lê Thị Thu Hằng is now the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, replacing the former Lê Hải Bình. — Photo vnexpress.vn
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam has protested against a live-fire military drill conducted this week by Taiwan in the Trường Sa archipelago, demanding that it refrain from repeating such activity, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lê Hải Bình said on Thursday.

Bình asked parties involved in the Trường Sa (Spratly) and Hoàng Sa (Paracel) archipelagoes to respect Việt Nam’s sovereignty in the area and act responsibly. 

He spoke to reporters in response to a query about Việt Nam’s reaction to reports that China is completing big military works on illegal man-made islands in Việt Nam’s Trường Sa archipelago. 

Vietnamese agencies are checking that information, Bình said, reiterating that Việt Nam has a full legal foundation and historical evidence to affirm its sovereignty over Trường Sa and Hoàng Sa. 

Việt Nam also resolutely protested against Taiwan (China)’s live-fire drill in waters around Ba Bình (Itu Aba) in Việt Nam’s Trường Sa archipelago, Bình said. Taiwan’s Coast Guard Administration held a live-fire exercise in Ba Bình waters from March 27-30.

Bình declared that the move “seriously violates Việt Nam’s sovereignty" over Trường Sa archipelago. “It also threatens peace, stability and maritime safety and security in the East Sea, while elevating tension and complicating the situation in the waters,” he added. 

Parties concerned need to respect Việt Nam’s sovereignty, act responsibly, and take no actions that complicate the situation and threaten peace in the East Sea (South China Sea), the spokesperson said.

Blogger’s US award

The US State Department’s honouring of a Vietnamese blogger in custody over legal breaches is neither objective nor suitable, and does not benefit the development of the two countries’ relations, the spokesman said.

The US State Department earlier on Wednesday awarded a Vietnamese national, Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh or blogger Mẹ Nấm, the International Women of Courage Award. 

“Việt Nam’s consistent policy is always protecting and promoting people’s fundamental rights, including women’s rights,” Bình said, adding that the country’s efforts and achievements in ensuring and improving human rights have been recognised and highly valued by the international community. 

Citizen protection abroad

Việt Nam strongly condemned the inhumane killing of a nine-year-old Vietnamese girl in Japan, the foreign ministry spokesman said, conveying deepest condolences to her family.

The Foreign Ministry directed the Vietnamese embassy in Japan to work closely with local authorities in efforts to shed light on the death, expressing confidence that Japan would find the culprit.

Regarding the death of a Vietnamese national in a detention centre in Japan, Bình said the Vietnamese embassy in Japan is working with Japanese agencies on the case, but no information has been revealed so far. 

About legal protection for Đoàn Thị Hương, a suspect in the death of Democratic People’s Republic of Korean citizen Kim Chol in Malaysia, Bình assured reporters that two Malaysian defence lawyers for Hương are highly capable and more information will be provided at a suitable time. 

Regarding the arrest of 43 Vietnamese fishermen and three vessels in the Solomon Islands, Bình said the Vietnamese embassy in Australia and Solomon is working with authorities to verify the information and will take appropriate citizen protection measures.

New spokesperson

Thursday’s press briefing also marked the last one by Lê Hải Bình, who is being replaced by Lê Thị Thu Hằng as the new foreign ministry spokesperson. 

Incoming spokesperson Hằng said she hopes the press will continue working with the Foreign Ministry in updating the world  about Việt Nam. She affirmed that she is open to the media’s opinions so as to serve the country as well as possible. 

Hằng worked in the Press and Information Department for nearly two decades before serving as Minister Counsellor at the Vietnamese Embassy in the UK from 2012 to 2015. 

After finishing her tenure in the UK, Hằng was chosen to be acting director and then director of the information and culture department under the ministry’s State Commission for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs. — VNS

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