Vietnam demands Taiwan abort East Sea oil exploration mission

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Taiwan's planned oil and gas activities around the Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago is a violation of Vietnam's sovereignty, and need to be canceled, Vietnamese Foreign Ministry's spokesman has said.

Spokesman Luong Thanh Nghi made the statement at the ministry's periodical press conference on Thursday, when asked about news that Taiwan will start exploring oil and natural gas resources around the waters of Ba Binh Island, Truong Sa.

He said the proposed plan is a "critical violation of Vietnam's sovereignty over the Truong Sa Archipelago, intensifying and complicating the East Sea situation."

"Vietnam is determined to oppose and demand that Taiwan cancel the illegal plan immediately."

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In response to reporters' questions about China and Taiwan recently voicing concerns that Vietnam's Sea Law will affect its relations with regional countries, Nghi said that Vietnam's passage of its Sea Law was a "normal and necessary" step toward protecting its sovereignty as a signatory of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Vietnam's Sea Law states that the country will seek to handle disputes in the East Sea with diplomacy, and in accordance with international legal foundations, especially the 1982 UNCLOS and related agreements, to contribute to maintaining peace, stability, security and cooperation in the East Sea, the spokesman stressed.

On June 21 last year, Vietnam's National Assembly passed the Sea Law, which identifies the country's basic maritime boundaries, territory, border areas, exclusive economic zones, as well as its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa islands.

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