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Vietnam asks offending parties to stop complicating East Sea situation

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis meets with U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Dan J. Kritenbrink upon arriving in Hanoi, Vietnam on Jan. 24, 2018. (DoD photo by Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith)
June 02, 2018

Vietnam protests recent complicating developments in the East Sea and asked China, Taiwan and the Philippines to halt unilateral acts that undermine peace and stability in the disputed waters.

At the Vietnam foreign ministry’s regular press conference on May 31, spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang criticised China for conducting live fire drills on Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago from May 9-12.

“[China’s actions] seriously violate Vietnam’s sovereignty, run counter to the two countries’ agreement on basic principles guiding the settlement of sea issues, breach the ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (East Sea), […] and trespass on the consensus reached between the two countries’ leadership”, spokesperson Hang said.

She reiterated the Vietnamese Government’s stance that the country holds sufficient legal and historical evidence to prove its sovereignty of the Truong Sa (Spratly) and Hoang Sa (Paracel) islands.

Vietnam also demanded the Philippines stop its construction, upgrading of the taxiway and other facilities on Thi Tu Island of the Spratly archipelago and asked for restraint and compliance with the declaration of conduct on the East Sea in order to prevent the disputes from escalating, Hang said.

Likewise, Vietnam views the recent military activities of Taiwan, including live-fire drills on Ba Binh (Itu Aba) Island from May 23-25, as acts that constitute “serious threats” to peace and maritime security.

Vietnam asked that all parties to the dispute not repeat aggressive behaviours and act in accordance with international law, especially UNCLOS 1982, and with full respect for Vietnam’s incontestable sovereignty, Hang said.

She also said Vietnam’s oil exploration and exploitation continues as normal in the country’s sovereign waters.

Vietnam attends G7

At the conference, the Foreign Affairs Ministry announced that at the invitation of Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc will be attending the expanded G7 Summit in Canada and pay an official visit to the North American country from June 8-10.

This will mark the second time Vietnam will participate in the forum—one of the world’s most important multilateral groups—as an invited guest; the first was in 2016 for the 43rd G7 Summit in Japan.

The trip takes place as Vietnam and Canada celebrate the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties and seek to propel their strategic partnership in several areas: economics and trade, investment, science and technology, sustainable development, climate adaptation, and renewable energy.

According to spokesperson Hang, the Vietnamese Government leader is expected to deliver a speech at the expanded session of the summit and hold bilateral meetings with other participating countries.

Regarding the possible US imposition of an anti-dumping tax on Vietnamese steel products, as the Department of Commerce alleges the Vietnamese products originate in China, spokesperson Hang said Vietnamese authorities have been working closely with their American counterparts to verify the products in question. Vietnam asks for “fair and objective” consideration during the resolution of any trade issues that emerge between the two countries, she added.


© 2018 the Asia News Network (Hamburg, Germany)

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