HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam on Thursday denounced China’s illegal military exercise in the Hoàng 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 Lê Thị Thu Hằng made the remarks during a press briefing in Hà Nội, 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 Phú Lâm (Woody) Island, part of Hoàng Sa, which Việt Nam claims as its own.
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,” Hằng said.
The spokesperson stressed that Việt Nam strongly opposes these actions and demands that China respects Việt Nam’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.
Hằng said Việt Nam’s stance has clearly stated in the diplomatic note verbale No.22/HC-2020 dated March 2020 circulated in the United Nations, in which Việt Nam claims sovereignty and sovereign rights over the two islands Hoàng Sa (Paracels) and Trường Sa (Spratlys) in accordance with international laws, as well as sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction of Việt Nam over the waters as provided by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Việt Nam 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.
“Việt Nam always has made active and responsible contributions to this process,” Hằng said.
Regarding the rumoured upcoming visits by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov to Việt Nam, both slated for next month, the Vietnamese spokesperson said that all external relations activities and visits by foreign partners in Việt Nam will be announced by the ministry at an appropriate time.
In this briefing, Hằng 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 Việt Nam by the diplomat since taking office in late May this year.
Other than official talks with Vietnamese counterpart Bùi Thanh Sơn, Penny Wong is also expected to have courtesy visits to senior leaders of Việt Nam, according to the spokesperson. — VNS