China's pilot flight to an airport built illegally on a reef in Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago in the East Sea "seriously violated Vietnam's sovereignty," the Vietnamese foreign ministry said Saturday.
The flight to Chu Thap (Fiery Cross) reef "went counter to the common perception of the two countries’ leaders, the agreement on basic principles guiding the settlement of Vietnam – China issues at sea and the spirit of the 2012 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea," the ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh said. He was using the Vietnamese name of the sea otherwise known as South China Sea.
China's action undermined peace and stability in the East Sea, eroded bilateral political trust and negatively impacted the neighbourliness and sentiments between the two peoples, Binh said.
He said that Vietnam demands that China immediately end and not repeat such an action and take practical and specific acts to contribute to maintaining peace, stability, security, maritime and aviation safety and freedom in the East Sea.
The same day, a representative from the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry presented a diplomatic note to Chinese embassy counterpart opposing China’s action.