Vietnam denounces China's military drill, asserts sovereignty over island chains in South China Sea
Vietnam on June 23 denounced China’s illegal military exercise in the Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago as a serious violation of its sovereignty over the South China Sea Island chain.

Vietnam on June 23 denounced China’s illegal military exercise in the Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago as a serious violation of its sovereignty over the South China Sea Island chain.

The spokesperson for the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu hang made the remarks during a press briefing in Hanoi, in response to requests for a reaction to the announcement from China’s Hainan Province’s Department for Ocean Affairs about a June 19 drill in the waters off of Phu Lam (Woody) Island, part of Hoang Sa, which Vietnam claims as its own.

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam Le Thi Thu Hang during the press briefing__Photo: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The military drill “goes against the spirit of the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), complicates the situation, is not conducive to the ongoing negotiations between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC), and does not help the maintenance of peaceful, stable, and cooperative environment in the South China Sea,” Hang said.

The spokesperson stressed that Vietnam strongly opposes these actions and demands that China respects Vietnam’s sovereignty and not repeat such actions.

The spokesperson was also asked to respond to reports of the Japanese Government’s sending an appeal to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, in reaction to China’s intention to turn the South China Sea into its ‘internal waters’, as well as Japan’s reported willingness to stand with ASEAN countries, the United States, and Europe against China in the South China Sea issue.

Hang said Vietnam’s stance has clearly stated in the diplomatic note verbale No. 22/HC-2020 dated March 2020 circulated in the United Nations, in which Vietnam claims sovereignty and sovereign rights over the two islands Hoang Sa (Paracels) and Truong Sa (Spratlys) in accordance with international laws, as well as sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction of Vietnam over the waters as provided by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Vietnam believes that all countries share the common aspiration and goal of the maintenance of peace, stability, cooperation, and development in the South China Sea, as well as of settling disputes via international laws and 1982 UNCLOS, the spokesperson added.

“Vietnam always has made active and responsible contributions to this process,” Hang said.

Regarding the rumored upcoming visits by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov to Vietnam, both slated for next month, the Vietnamese spokesperson said that all external relations activities and visits by foreign partners in Vietnam will be announced by the ministry at an appropriate time.

In this briefing, Hang only announced a visit by the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong between June 26-28, 2022, noting that this is the first visit to Vietnam by the diplomat since taking office in late May this year.

Other than official talks with Vietnamese counterpart Bui Thanh Son, Penny Wong is also expected to have courtesy visits to senior leaders of Vietnam, according to the spokesperson.- (VLLF)

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