Vietnam has reasserted its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands in the South China Sea after China reportedly deployed a Zeppelin-like airship to Mischief Reef in the disputed sea.
The aircraft, technically known as an aerostat, appears to be intended to boost China’s reconnaissance capabilities in the hotly disputed Spratly Islands, according to a November 24 tweet by Israel-based ImageSat International.
| A screenshot of the tweet of ImageSat International|
“For the first time, China’s aerostat, probably for military intelligence-gathering purposes, seen by ISI at Mischief Reef. The use of aerostat allows China a continuous situational awareness in this resource-rich region,” said the tweet by the company, which provides satellite information to intelligence and defense customers.
The aerostat adds to ground- and ship-based radar and reconnaissance flights by China to monitor and seek to control military activity in the area by other countries, especially the United States, AP reported.
Vietnam has “sufficient legal ground and historical evidence to prove its sovereignty over the Truong Sa and Hoang Sa archipelagoes in line with international law,” Le Thi Thu Hang, spokesperson of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated at a regular press meeting on Thursday.
|Le Thi Thu Hang, spokesperson of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Photo: MOFA|
Hang repeated the request that related parties respect the sovereignty, sovereignty rights and jurisdiction of Vietnam, strictly abide by international law, and contribute to security and stability in the South China Sea, to which Vietnam refers as the East Sea.
In response to questions over the appearance of China Marine Surveillance ships in Vietnam’s continental shelf late in November, the spokesperson said Vietnam’s authorities will work to verify the information.
She affirmed that Vietnamese authorities keep close watch of activities in Vietnamese waters as established according to international law and the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982.
“All activities in Vietnamese waters must comply with the UNCLOS 1982 and Vietnamese regulations,” Hang said.