China’s reclamation and construction activities in the East Sea have “seriously violated” Vietnam’s sovereignty, the foreign ministry said Friday.
Such activities have “caused deep concerns among the international community, including the ASEAN," Le Hai Binh, the ministry’s spokesman, said at a press conference.
Satellite images have showed that China’s reclamation work is well advanced on several reefs in the Spratly Islands over which Vietnam claims sovereignty.
China, however, has accused Vietnam of “occupying” its reefs in the Spratlys and carrying out significant land reclamation on them.
When asked by reporters about Vietnam’s response to the accusation, Binh said Vietnam has sufficient legal and historical evidence to support its claims in the East Sea, which is also known as South China Sea.
“Vietnam has sufficient legal and historical evidence to affirm its sovereignty, sovereignty right and jurisdiction in the East Sea in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” he said.
Vietnam, therefore, insists that China “immediately stop these activities, strictly follow and enforce international law… and avoid actions to complicate and extend disputes in the sea.”
China claims about 90 percent of the potentially energy-rich East Sea. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims.
A Reuters report quoted experts as saying that while China’s reclamation will not overturn US regional military superiority, it could allow Beijing to project power deep into the maritime heart of Southeast Asia.
The Chinese mission to the United Nations recently sent diplomatic notes to other countries’ missions to assert its sovereignty claims over the East Sea, and described its reclamation and construction as rightful and legitimate.
Foreign ministry spokesman Binh, asked about diplomatic notes, said China’s viewpoints are “inaccurate and have no whatsoever legal, historical and factual grounds.”
On April 30, the Vietnamese mission to the UN sent diplomatic notes to all other countries’ missions to the UN to reject the Chinese points of view, he said.