Việt Nam reaffirms sovereignty over Paracel, Spratly islands

May 23, 2024 - 17:03
China's new policy would allow the Chinese Coast Guard to detain foreigners who illegally crossed borders for up to 30 days without a trial, or even 60 days in more complex cases.
Deputy spokesperson for Ministry of Foreign Affairs Đoàn Khắc Việt addressed the press briefing on Thursday in Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo Doãn Tấn

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam is determined to uphold its sovereignty and protect its citizens' rights, the foreign ministry said on Thursday in response to China's new rules on trespassing in territorial waters in the East Sea (known internationally as the South China Sea).

The new policy would allow the Chinese Coast Guard to detain for up to 30 days without trial foreigners who violate or help others violate territorial waters/waters that China claims sovereignty. 

Đoàn Khắc Việt, deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated at a press briefing in Hà Nội that "as has been fully enunciated many times, Việt Nam has ample historical evidence and full legal basis to assert its sovereignty over the Hoàng Sa (Paracel) and Trường Sa (Spratly) Islands in line with international law as well as sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over maritime zones established following the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)."

"Việt Nam always maintains its resoluteness and consistency in protecting its sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over Việt Nam's waters, and the lawful and legitimate rights of Vietnamese citizens in accordance with the 1982 UNCLOS and Vietnamese law," Việt added.

As for media reports saying that China has deployed a hospital ship of its Navy to Việt Nam's Paracel Islands to provide medical checks and treatment for troops illegally stationed there, the deputy spokesperson responded that Việt Nam "resolutely objects to all activities that infringe upon Việt Nam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa."

Mekong dams

The foreign ministry's representative was also asked about measures to deal with the impacts of hydroelectric dams along the Mekong River.

Deputy spokesperson Việt said the Mekong River is an inter-regional river and "as a downstream country, Việt Nam is greatly interested in the transboundary impacts and water retention capacity of the dams."

"As we have repeatedly emphasised, the development and operation of hydroelectric projects on the mainstream of the Mekong River must ensure that they do not cause negative effects, including cross-border impacts on the environment, socio-economic affairs and livelihoods in the riparian countries, particularly in downstream countries in accordance with international law," Việt said.

The diplomat also stressed that Việt Nam stands ready to collaborate with nearby countries to manage and harness the water resources of the Mekong River in an effective and sustainable way, in order to balance the interests among affected countries and to reduce the impacts on the lives of people in the region.

The Mekong River Commission – comprising Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Việt Nam engages in dialogues with upstream countries along the Mekong River Basin (China and Myanmar), and is actively promoting cooperation with other nations, Việt said. — VNS