|Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lê Thị Thu Hằng said Việt Nam opposes Taiwan’s live-fire drill around Ba Bình Island. — VNA/VNS Photo Văn Điệp|Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – Việt Nam objects to Taiwan (China)’s live-fire exercise around Ba Bình (Itu Aba) island in Việt Nam’s Trường Sa (Spratly) Archipelago, and has demanded it refrain from such actions in the future, stated spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lê Thị Thu Hằng.
Hằng made the statement while fielding questions from reporters on the issue on Thursday.
The diplomat elaborated, saying Việt Nam has sufficient legal basis and historical evidence to confirm its sovereignty over the Hoàng Sa (Paracel) and Trường Sa archipelagos in accordance with international law.
Taiwan’s continuation of live-fire drills in the waters surrounding Ba Bình island, despite Việt Nam’s opposition, is a serious violation of Việt Nam’s territorial sovereignty, posing a threat to peace, stability and maritime security and safety, as well as causing tension and complicating the situation in the East Sea, she said.
In another move, Việt Nam has demanded China pay proper compensation for damage a Chinese coastguard ship caused to Vietnamese fishermen in Việt Nam’s Hoàng Sa Archipelago.
According to Vietnamese agencies, at 9am of March 6, when a Vietnamese fishing boat with five crew members was anchored in the vicinity of Đá Lồi Reef in Việt Nam’s Hoàng Sa Archipelago, a Chinese coast guard ship approached and fired water cannon to drive it away.
The Vietnamese boat subsequently sank to the northwest of Đá Lồi Reef at about 10am.
The fishermen were rescued three hours later by another Vietnamese fishing boat.
On Wednesday, the Consular Department of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs met with representatives of the Chinese Embassy in Việt Nam to present a diplomatic note and protest against the Chinese ship’s action, which violated Việt Nam’s sovereignty over the Hoàng Sa Archipelago and threatened the life and legitimate interests of the Vietnamese fishermen.
The department requested the Chinese Embassy to inform the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and agencies about the incident and deal with the crew members of the coastguard vessel and pay proper compensation to the Vietnamese fishermen. – VNS