Vietnam demands China to immediately stop the construction currently underway on Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Le Hai Binh said with regard to China’s erection of two lighthouses on Truong Sa islands.
During a regular press conference in Hanoi Thursday, Binh stressed that Vietnam has sufficient legal and historical evidence to prove its sovereignty over the two archipelagos.
The lighthouse building effort undertaken by China violates Vietnam’s sovereignty as well as the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), which the ASEAN member states and China signed in 2002, he said.
“Vietnam requested China to adhere to internationally recognized principles, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS) and the DOC, and restrain from actions that complicate the East Sea situation,” Binh said.
On May 26, China unveiled its first white military strategy paper that includes a provision to protect its buildings construction on the artificial islands in Truong Sa archipelago in the East Sea, internationally known as South China Sea.
The spokesman emphasized that as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a key regional stakeholder, China needs to respect the sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the involved countries, comply with international law, and contribute responsibly and constructively to maintaining regional and global peace, stability, and security.
Recently, Australian media outlets reported that Government officials were concerned over China moving weaponry onto the artificial islands built illegally in the South China Sea. The spokesman said Vietnamese authorized agencies are closely following the events in these waters.
The East Sea is a shipping route and an international flight corridor of critical importance, Binh noted, adding that Vietnam hopes the involved parties will sustain peace, stability, and maritime security and safety in the waters in compliance with international law, particularly the 1982 UNCLOS and the DOC.
During a recent trip to Truong Sa several days ago, a Thanh Nien reporter spotted a number of Chinese vessels used for the dredging and the illegal construction of the Subi Reef, a reef in Vietnam’s Truong Sa Islands.
The United States last week released a video of Beijing’s island reclamation work in the South China Sea, showing dredgers and other ships busily turning remote outcrops into islands with runways and harbors.