Vietnam’s foreign ministry on Monday denounced recent landing and taking off drills carried out by Chinese bombers on the Paracel (Hoang Sa) Islands as a serious violation of Vietnam’s sovereignty in the South China Sea, which it calls the East Sea.
The move has increased tension, caused destabilization and is not beneficial to the maintenance of peace, stability and cooperation in the region, according to the ministry’s spokesperson, Le Thi Thu Hang.
In addition to violating Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Paracel Islands, it goes against the Vietnam-China Agreement on Basic Principles Guiding the Settlement of Maritime Issues, violates the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and negatively affects the negotiation of a Code of Conduct in the waters.
“Vietnam requests that China put an end to these activities immediately, stop militarization, seriously respect Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Hoang Sa Islands, seriously comply with the Vietnam-China Agreement on Basic Principles Guiding the Settlement of Maritime Issues and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea between ASEAN and China, create a favorable atmosphere to maintain a peaceful, stable environment in the region,” Hang said in a statement.
The spokesperson also stressed that Vietnam has full legal basis and historical evidence to assert its sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly (Truong Sa) Islands in accordance with international law.
China seized the Paracel Islands from South Vietnam by force in 1974, and has since been illegally occupying the islands. In July 2012, China established a so-called “Sansha City” with Vietnam’s Woody (Phu Lam) Island in the Paracels as its seat.
The so-called city also covers a number of reefs in Vietnam’s Spratly Islands that China seized by force in 1988 and the Scarborough Shoal, which is claimed by the Philippines.
The Chinese air force announced last Friday that several of its bombers, including the long-range, nuclear strike capable H-6K, had carried out landing and taking off drills at an island airfield in the Paracel Islands.
In an analysis published on its website, the U.S.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies said the location of the runway was believed to be Woody Island.