China must end its violation of Vietnam’s sovereignty in the East Sea, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang said in response to a reporter’s question about Vietnam’s position regarding Chinese ships operating at the Bai Ba Dau (Whitsun Reef) in Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago.
At a regular press conference of the ministry on March 25, the spokesperson stressed that Vietnam has sufficient legal grounds and historical evidence to affirm its sovereignty over Truong Sa in accordance with international law.
She went on to say that as a coastal country and a member of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Vietnam is entitled to sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over waters established in accordance with the UNCLOS.
“The operation of Chinese ships within the territorial waters of Sinh Ton Dong island in the Spratly has violated Vietnam’s sovereignty and the UNCLOS’s stipulation on the operation of foreign vessels in the territorial waters of coastal nations, ran counter to the spirit and content of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and complicated the situation which is unfavourable for the process of negotiations between the ASEAN and China on a Code of Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (COC),” the spokesperson stressed.
Vietnam demands that China respect Vietnam’s sovereignty, implement the UNCLOS with good will, seriously comply with the DOC, especially the obligation of self-restraint so as to not complicate the situation and to create a favourable environment for the COC negotiation, thus contributing to the maintenance of peace, security, stability and legal order at sea in the region, Hang said.