VN tells China to halt island intrusion

Update: May, 29/2015 - 09:01
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Le Hai Binh. — VNA/VNS Photo Thong Nhat

HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam demanded that China stop construction currently under way in the Truong Sa (Spratly) and Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelagos, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Le Hai Binh said.

China has begun building two lighthouses on the Truong Sa islands. During a regular press conference yesterday, Binh stressed that Viet Nam had sufficient legal and historical evidence to prove its sovereignty over the archipelagos.

The construction project violates Viet Nam's sovereignty and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), which ASEAN member states and China signed in 2002.

Viet Nam asked China to adhere to internationally recognised principles such as the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS) and the DOC, and restrain actions that complicate the East Sea situation.

On Tuesday, China unveiled its first white military strategy paper, which includes a provision to protect its buildings on artificial islands in the Truong Sa archipelago.

Binh emphasised that as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a key regional stakeholder, China needed to respect the sovereignty rights and jurisdictions of the involved countries; comply with international law; and contribute responsibly and constructively to maintaining regional peace, stability, and security.

Recently, Australian media outlets reported that Government officials were concerned over China moving weaponry onto the artificial islands built illegally in the East Sea. Binh said Vietnamese authorised agencies were closely following the events.

The East Sea is a shipping route and international flight corridor of critical importance, he said.

Fishermen's rights

Yesterday, in response to reporters' questions, Binh said that the Vietnamese Embassy was working closely with competent agencies in Brunei to ensure the legitimate rights and interests of the 33 Vietnamese fishermen detained and scheduled to appear in court.

After receiving word from Brunei about the detention of fishing vessel QNg 95924TS from the central province of Quang Ngai, the Vietnamese Embassy immediately tasked its staff with verifying the information and taking the necessary protection measures, Binh said.

He added that the embassy had found the fishermen in stable health and ensured that their relatives have been notified. — VNS