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Vietnam Today

Vietnam calls on China to end encroachment of sovereignty

Released at: 15:55, 24/12/2016

Vietnam calls on China to end encroachment of sovereignty

Photos: AMTI/VGP

Latest call comes as China begins commercial flights to Phu Lam Island in Vietnam's Hoang Sa archipelago.

by Ha Nguyen

Vietnam has called China’s fresh opening of civil aviation routes to Phu Lam Island in Vietnam’s Hoang Sa archipelago an act that seriously encroaches upon Vietnam’s sovereignty.

Mr. Le Hai Binh, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on December 23 again affirmed that Vietnam has full historical evidence and legal foundations to prove its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes.

“Vietnam resolutely protests the China’s move and demands it cease violations of Vietnam’s sovereignty over the two archipelagoes,” he said.

China has begun daily civilian charter flights to Phu Lam Island in the East Sea after approving the airport for civil operations on December 16, according to China’s Xinhua news agency. The first flight took off on Wednesday from Haikou, the provincial capital of China’s southern island province of Hainan and will run every day.

China self-claims almost all of the East Sea, through which more than $5 trillion of maritime trade passes each year.

Foreign analysts believe such Chinese actions are not surprising, and beginning any dialogue with China over the East Sea will be difficult for countries like Vietnam. “Bilateral negotiations with China on fishing could be in Vietnam’s interest, but not on sovereignty issues,” said Ms. Bonnie Glaser, Senior Adviser for Asia and Director, China Power Project, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). “A starting point of any talks with China should be securing Chinese respect for Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) extending from its coastline.”

“For Vietnam-China relations, Vietnam will want to continue to find ways to cooperate with China, despite the tensions in the East Sea,” Mr. Murray Hiebert, Senior Adviser and Deputy Director of Southeast Asia at CSIS, told VET.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on December 23 on the sidelines of the 2nd Mekong-Lancang Cooperation Foreign Ministerial Meeting in Siem Reap, Cambodia, according to the government's news portal.

Deputy PM Minh urged the two countries to seriously follow the common perceptions of their senior leaders, settle disputes through peaceful means in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, respect diplomatic and legal processes, control their differences, maintain peace and stability at sea, avoid actions that may complicate the situation or expand disputes, fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, and actively beef up the conclusion of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea in 2017.

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