Vietnam demands stop to China military drill off Paracel Islands

By Le Quan, Thanh Nien News

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A Chinese military ship in Vietnam's Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago. Photo: Hoang Son A Chinese military ship in Vietnam's Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago. Photo: Hoang Son

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The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has demanded that China should stop a military drill near Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago.

“Vietnam solemnly demands China respect the former’s sovereignty, act responsibly, immediately stop actions that could complicate the situation and intensify tensions,” the ministry’s spokesperson Le Hai Binh said Thursday.

Binh was replying to reporters’ queries about Vietnam’s response to the Chinese Maritime Safety Administration’s announcement July 20 of  10-day military exercise near Hoang Sa starting July 22.

He said that the Chinese move "seriously encroaches" on Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Hoang Sa Archipelago area "goes against the common perceptions reached by the two countries’ senior leaders, hinders the development of bilateral ties, further escalates tensions, complicates the situation, and threatens security and safety of navigation in the region."

China wrongfully claims a majority of the East Sea, also known as the South China Sea.

The area is thought to hold vast untapped reserves of oil and natural gas and important international shipping routes pass through it.

Vietnam and the Philippines have repeatedly slammed China for its increasing belligerence in staking its claims in the East Sea in recent years.

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