Satellite photo shows aerostat-shaped object floating on the Mischief Reef. Photo courtesy of ImageSat International (ISI)
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam foreign affairs spokeswoman on Thursday reaffirmed the country’s sovereignty over the Spratly Islands after images showing an airship deployed above the China-occupied Mischief Reef.
“Việt Nam has full legal grounds and historical evidence to affirm its sovereignty over the Hoàng Sa (Paracel) and Trường Sa (Spratly) islands,” spokeswoman Lê Thị Thu Hằng told reporters at the regular press briefing.
“Việt Nam asked all parties to respect the sovereignty, sovereignty rights and jurisdiction of Việt Nam, to seriously abide by international law and to contribute in a responsible and constructive manner to the sustaining of security, safety, peace and stability in the East Sea (South China Sea),” she added.
Israeli satellite company ImageSat International (ISI) posted a photo on its Twitter account on November 11 showing an aerostat-shaped object floating on the Mischief Reef – known by Vietnamese as the Vành Khăn Reef.
The satellite image was the first evidence China had deployed an airship to the atoll probably for reconnaissance purposes, said the company.
According to military magazine Kanwa Asian Defence, the high-powered aerostats can monitor both airborne targets and mobile ground objects within a radius of 300km.
The Mischief Reef was among seven features in the Spratly Islands illegally taken by China and built into an artificial island having both military and civilian structures.
China was increasingly intensifying its military presence in the disputed East Sea where it claimed more than 90 per cent.
Foreign spokeswoman Hằng also that Việt Nam was investigating claims a Chinese coast guard ship appeared in Việt Nam’s continental shelf.
There were spreading rumours a Chinese coast guard vessel made its way into the southern continental shelf of Việt Nam in recent days, interrupting the country’s oil and gas activities.
Tonle Sap area
Vietnam’s representative agencies in Cambodia have been closely following the relocation of Vietnamese Cambodians in the Tonle Sap area in Cambodia and have timely taken measures to assist those who had to relocate, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.
At the press briefing, the spokesperson affirmed that Việt Nam understands Cambodia’s policy on sustainable social and economic development, including the relocation of residents in the Tonle Sap area in Kampong Chhnang province.
She added that Việt Nam’s representative agencies in Cambodia have asked Vietnamese Cambodians to follow the law and legal regulations of the host country.
Asked to comment on opinions that land buying by Vietnamese Cambodians relocated from Tonle Sap is threatening Cambodia’s security and sovereignty, spokesperson Hằng affirmed that those are groundless arguments. — VNS