Vietnam said China’s military exercises violate its territorial waters in Hoang Sa (Paracel Islands) in the South China Sea (referring to the East Sea in Vietnamese).
|Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang of Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the press conference on June 23. Photo: MOFA|
Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) made the statement at a press conference held on June 23 following China’s announcement of military exercises that took place on June 19 within 12 nautical miles of Phu Lam Island (Woody Island) in Hoang Sa.
No ships were allowed to enter the drill zone.
“China’s military drills in Hoang Sa archipelago seriously violate Vietnam’s sovereignty over these islands,” Hang said, noting that the activities “go against the spirit of the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), and are not favorable to the ongoing negotiations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC), and detrimental to the peaceful, stable, and cooperative environment in the East Sea.”
Earlier in March 2022, China announced three-week military drills in the South China Sea, which covers part of Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
At the press conference on Thursday, Hang also asserted Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Spratly Islands), which is defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Hang made the affirmation in response to a question on China’s plan of “internal waters” in the resource-rich sea.
Earlier, Sankei reported that the Government of Japan sent an appeal to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) in reaction to China’s intention to turn the South China Sea into its ‘internal waters’, as well as Japan’s reported willingness to stand with ASEAN countries, Europe, and the US against China in the South China Sea issues.
Hang said Vietnam’s stance has clearly been stated in the diplomatic note verbale No.22/HC-2020 dated March 2020 circulated in the United Nations, in which Vietnam claims sovereignty and sovereign rights over the two islands Hoang Sa (Paracels) and Truong Sa (Spratlys) in accordance with international law.
Vietnam believes that all countries share the common aspiration and goal of maintaining peace, stability, cooperation, and development in the East Sea, the spokesperson added.
“Vietnam always has made active and responsible contributions to this process,” she emphasized.