China's Liaoning aircraft carrier sailing during a drill in the South China Sea in 2018. — AFP/VNA Photo
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam has condemned China’s latest military drill in Hoàng Sa (Paracel) islands as a move against the country’s territorial integrity and regional peace.
The statement was made by Việt Nam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Lê Thị Thu Hằng on Wednesday over reported Chinese naval exercises and live-fire drills in a part of the Paracels lying within the hotly contested South China Sea (known in Việt Nam as the East Sea) on August 24-29.
“The repeated military exercises that China conducts in the Spratly islands violate Việt Nam’s sovereignty over the islands, go against the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), complicate the situation and is not conducive to the ongoing negotiations between China and ASEAN on the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea and the maintenance of peaceful, stable, and cooperative environment in the South China Sea,” Hằng said.
Việt Nam asks that China respects Việt Nam’s sovereignty over the Paracel islands, cancel the drills and refrain from committing similar transgressions, Hằng continued.
China seized de facto control of the Paracels by force from Việt Nam in a violent battle in 1974.
Earlier in August, China has sent jet bomber to Phú Lâm (Woody) island in the Paracels, earning protests from Việt Nam.
Hằng reiterated that Spratly and Trường Sa (Spratly) islands in the South China Sea are “inseparable parts of Việt Nam” and that the country has sufficient legal basis and historical evidence to prove its sovereignty over the two island chains in the South China Sea. — VNS