Vietnam protests Taiwan's moves in Spratly

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs's National Border Committee on Wednesday condemned Taiwan's plan to extend a runway on Ba Binh Island in the Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago, which is sovereign Vietnamese territory.

The committee also slammed a trip to the archipelago by a group of Taiwanese university students and professors as part of their defense education.

On July 15 Taiwanese newspaper Liberty Times reported that Taiwan was considering extending the runway on Ba Binh, the largest island in Truong Sa and some 860 miles from Taiwan, by 500 meters. It is also the only island where fresh water is available.

The same day Taiwan's Central News Agency (CNA) reported that 12 students at Tainan-based National Cheng Kung University and three professors wrapped up a week-long trip to Ba Binh.

The trip was meant to help the students gain a better understanding of the country's East Sea policies, defense efforts, and issues such as ecological protection, CNA quoted the Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense as saying.

The purpose of the trip was also to "assert [Taiwan's] sovereignty" over the region, the ministry said.

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A spokesman for Vietnam's National Border Committee said Vietnam has sufficient legal and historical evidence to affirm its sovereignty over the Truong Sa and Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelagos.

"Activities by parties in the Truong Sa archipelago without Vietnam's permission violate Vietnam's sovereignty and international laws, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and go against the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) while also causing tension in the East Sea," he said.

The committee also warned Taiwan to desist from such activities in future.

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