Deputy spokesperson for Việt Nam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Đoàn Khắc Việt. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam condemns China’s illegal acts of cultivating vegetables and exploiting sand on Việt Nam’s rightful geographical features in the East Sea, an official has said.
Deputy spokesperson for Vietnamese foreign ministry Đoàn Khắc Việt made the statement on Thursday during a press conference held in Hà Nội, in response to reports from China’s Global Times indicating that Chinese troops illegally occupying Việt Nam’s Phú Lâm (Woody) Island have harvested more than a tonne of vegetables grown using sand-to-soil cultivation technology.
The move was done to further Chinese claims over the East Sea (South China Sea internationally)’s many disputed features, which have been deemed by international law experts not technically islands and therefore not capable of guaranteeing extended maritime claims to the waters surrounding an island.
Việt Nam has repeatedly affirmed its indisputable sovereignty over the Hoàng Sa (Paracel) and Trường Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes as well as the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in the East Sea, Việt said.
“All actions that are conducted on the archipelagoes without expressed permission from Việt Nam are invalid,” Việt said.
He also denounced Chinese ships exploiting sand in the East Sea, calling these acts violations of Việt Nam’s sovereignty and sovereign rights, and breaches of international law.
In a related development, the deputy spokesperson also responded to questions regarding the US’s handing over the USCGC John Midgett to Việt Nam’s coast guard at the end of 2020.
Việt said the US-Việt Nam comprehensive partnership is on the path of progress over many sectors, including defence co-operation.
Based on agreements the two sides have achieved, Việt Nam and the US continue to step up bilateral defence ties, including maritime security and maritime law enforcement capacity building, to maintain peace and stability, promote collaboration and development in the region and the world, Việt said.
The John Midgett is the second Hamilton-class high endurance cutter that Việt Nam has received from the US, following the purchase of USCGC Morgenthau in 2017 to be used by Việt Nam Coast Guard as a patrol craft.
Regarding the upcoming National Assembly vote on the EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU-Việt Nam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) at the ongoing ninth sitting in Hà Nội, Việt said the two agreements are expected to create new momentum for the partnership between the two sides.
He noted that following negotiations and close co-ordination between Việt Nam and the EU, the European Parliament ratified the two agreements on February 12. On March 30, the European Council approved the European Parliament’s ratification, finalising the EU’s internal legal procedures regarding ratification of the EVFTA.
The EVIPA, meanwhile, still requires ratification by the parliaments of member nations.
The two agreements are expected to generate considerable benefits for the economies, businesses and peoples of both Việt Nam and the EU, creating new momentum for the partnership, according to Việt. — VNS