President Truong Tan Sang (R) speaks to the press in New York on September 28, 2015. Photo: Truong Son
President Truong Tan Sang reiterated Vietnam’s claims over Truong Sa (Spratly) and Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands in the East Sea while speaking to the press in New York late Monday.
He publicly rejected recent claims by Chinese President Xi Jinping that the islands "have been China’s territory since ancient times."
“As Mr. Xi Jinping claims that the islands have belonged to China since ancient times, we would like to counter-argue that statement. The Spratlys and Paracels have always belonged to Vietnam, and we have all historical and legal evidence to support our sovereignty,” Sang said.
The same day, he told The Associated Press that China's island-building in the East Sea, which is also known as the South China Sea, violates international law and endangers maritime security.
"The East Sea is indeed a hot spot of the region and the world at this point, and in the last year China has done large-scale reclamation of submerged islands to make them very big islands," Sang said.
"We believe that these acts by China violate international law," he told AP, citing the UN convention of the law of the sea. He added that it also infringes a declaration of conduct reached in 2002 by members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
He said the concerns of Vietnam and other Southeast Asian nations are "obvious and easy to understand because the acts by China seriously affect the maritime safety and security in the East Sea."
He underscored the importance of a peaceful environment to realize new goals for sustainable development just agreed upon at the United Nations, according to AP.