China’s activities on Truong Sa, Hoang Sa illegal and void: Vietnam's spokesman

By Truong Son, Thanh Nien News

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Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Le Hai Binh at the press briefing July 24. Photo: Ngoc Thang

Vietnam continues to denounce China's illegal activities in and around Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) and Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelagoes, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Le Hai Binh said during a regular press briefing on Thursday.
When asked to comment on the information that China had dredged more than 1.7km of channels around Duy Mong (Drummond) Island in Hoang Sa Islands to allow Chinese vessels to dock there, he said Vietnam firmly maintains its incontestable claim to sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa.
“All of China's activities in the two archipelagos are illegal and void,” he said.
Binh told reporters that Vietnam's security forces are keeping a close watch on China’s activities in the East Sea--internationally known as the South China Sea.
When asked about the changes in Vietnam-China relations after China’s illegal placement of Haiyang Shiyou-981 oil rig in Vietnamese waters, the spokesman replied that Vietnam has always sought normal relations with China and that bilateral economic relations remain normal.
He denied a China Daily reporter's suggestion that Vietnam Airlines would halt certain flights from Vietnam to China in the near future.
When asked to comment on the information that Finnish customs authorities recently seized a suspected shipment of Vietnamese military equipment bound for Ukraine, Binh said the equipment had been sent to Ukraine for repair and maintenance.
The activity was undertaken through an established bilateral defense cooperation, he said.
He added that the arrangement complied with international laws and practices and that Vietnamese agencies are working with relevant sides to resolve Finnish customs concerns.
Reporters also inquired about a case in which a Chinese man assaulted five Vietnamese women with a knife, killing three and injuring two, in China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region near the border on July 22.
Binh said Vietnam’s diplomatic representatives in China are working with relevant agencies to verify the details of the crime, including the identities of the victims. Vietnam's diplomatic core has also urged Chinese authorities to treat the injured victims well and do their utmost to bring the killer to justice.

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