By Vu Ngoc December 3, 2020 | 06:36 pm GMT+7 vnexpressSatellite photo shows North Island, part of the Paracel Islands in the East Sea, September 2017. Photo by Planet Labs via Reuters.Vietnam Thursday asked China to stop escalating tensions with actions that exacerbate violations of Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos.
“All activities on the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) islands without Vietnam’s permission are violations of Vietnam’s sovereignty, international law and hold no juridical value,” Foreign Affairs Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said at a press meet Thursday.
She was responding to reports of the transport department of China’s Hainan Province announcing Tuesday that it would resume tourism ships to Vietnam’s Paracel Islands, which China occupies illegally, after a 11-month suspension over the Covid-19 pandemic.
Two tourism ships would resume operations starting December 9 and December 10, with tours lasting four days and three nights, starting from Hainan’s Sanya City to Paracel’s Yagong Island, the department said.
Meanwhile, the Chinese army Monday deployed its Nanyi 13 hospital ship to the Fiery Cross Reef of Vietnam’s Spratly Islands, the Chinese national broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) reported. The ship, equipped with 100 hospital beds, is expected to be a mobile medical unit at the Spratly Islands for both military and civilian purposes.
Hang said Vietnam wants China to respect Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly Islands, cancel and cease the organization of tours to the Paracel Islands and other activities that escalate and complicate situations, and go against the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. Vietnam calls the waters the East Sea.
China should also refrain from actions that are not conducive to the maintenance of peace, stability and cooperation in the East Sea as well as negotiations on the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea, affecting Vietnam-China relations, she added.
She said that Vietnam has full legal basis and historical evidence to assert its sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly islands in accordance with international law.
China has taken a series of provocative actions in the waters since the start of this year as countries around the world were focused on battling the Covid-19 pandemic, including the formation of the so-called ‘Xisha’ and ‘Nansha’ districts in Vietnam’s Paracel and Spratly islands, sinking Vietnamese fishing vessels off the Paracels, unilaterally issuing a fishing ban and sending a ship to harass a Malaysian oil and gas exploration vessel.
Vietnam has repeatedly protested and asked China to desist from its illegal, provocative actions.