Vietnam asks China to stop violating Paracel sovereignty

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Vietnam's Foreign Ministry has asked China to stop violating Vietnam's sovereignty over the Paracel Islands after the latter began initiating business plans on and around the islands recently.

Ministry spokesperson Luong Thanh Nghi said in a statement on the government website Thursday that China has "severely violated" Vietnam's sovereignty, international laws and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea it signed with ASEAN in 2002.

He listed various violations including one in which the China National Offshore Oil Corporation opened bids for oil developers in the northern East Sea, around one sea mile from the Paracel, which is called Hoang Sa in Vietnamese.

Another was on March 12, when Chinese minister of culture mentioned building an archaeological center under the East Sea and a staff station on Hoang Sa on a Chinese forum.

Earlier on March 7, deputy head of the China National Tourism Administration said the unit was helping the Hainan Province government develop tourism on Hoang Sa.

On March 2, Chinese vessel protectors practiced real shooting in Hoang Sa waters.

Hainan Province has also planned a boat race to Hoang Sa for March 28.

Nghi said and the actions went against common understanding reached by the countries' high-ranking officials and did not help relations between Vietnam and China.

"We request that China respect our sovereignty by ending actions violating Vietnam's sovereignty on the Paracel to practically contribute to the maintenance of peace and stability on the East Sea," Nghi said.

He said the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Spratly) islands are "inseparable" parts of Vietnam's territory.

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