Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Le Hai Binh reacted sharply Thursday to Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan’s incitement of the military, police, and general population to prepare for a “people's war at sea.”
Officials need to speak and act in accordance with official statements as well as their countries’ obligations, Binh said.
Chang's remark came in the wake of an international tribunal ruling there is no legal basis for China to claim “historic rights” over the waters falling within the “nine-dash line”.
China has rejected the ruling.
Binh said: “Peace and stability in the East Sea (also known as South China Sea) is the interest and aspiration of all countries within and outside of the region. Disputes in the waters must be resolved peacefully on the basis of international law, and without use of or threat to use force.”
“Officials of countries need to speak and act in accordance with official statements as well as their nations’ obligations, which are respecting international law, not using or threatening to use force, and actively contributing to peace and stability in the region and the world.”
Asked about a statement by China’s Supreme People’s Court that China will actively exercise its jurisdiction to protect its territorial sovereignty and navigation interests, including jailing illegal fishermen, the spokesman said, “The treatment of fishermen working in the East Sea must comply with international law and agreements reached between countries, and [based on a] humanitarian spirit.”
“Vietnam reserves the necessary measures for protecting its fishermen’s legitimate interests in line with international law and practice.”
Asked about China’s construction of a cemetery in Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago, Binh reiterated that Vietnam has sufficient legal foundation and historical evidence for its sovereignty over the archipelago.
“All activities of other parties in areas within Hoang Sa, regardless of intentions, are illegal and do not change Vietnam’s sovereignty over this archipelago.”