Vietnam opposes China’s deployment of light buoys in Spratly islands
Vietnam has expressed opposition to the China Maritime Safety Administration’s placement of three light buoys on some Spratly Islands, Vietnam News reported Deputy Spokeswoman of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pham Thu Hang as saying.
Hang emphasised that Vietnam has sufficient legal grounds and historical evidence testifying sovereignty over Spratly and Paracels in accordance with international law, as per Vietnam News.
Vietnam News, launched in 1991, is a 28-page newspaper that first hit the newsstands in 1991.
She made the above remarks in response to a reporter’s question about the placement by the China Maritime Safety Administration under the Chinese Ministry of Transport.
Terming the move “invalid”, she also said that the installation of the light buoys on entities in Spratly without Vietnam’s permission is an infringement of Vietnam’s sovereignty over Spratly.
The Vietnamese government has demanded that the parties concerned not take any actions that may complicate the situation but respect Vietnam’s sovereignty, international law, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and maintain an environment of peace, stability and cooperation in the East Sea, Hang added, as cited by Vietnam News.
A week ago as well, the Vietnamese government criticized China and the Philippines for their recent activities in the disputed waters of the South China Sea and stressed that it “resolutely opposes the activities that violate its sovereignty,” The Diplomat reported.
While addressing a press conference in Hanoi on May 18, Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Pham Thu Hang said that China and the Philippines were “violating the sovereign rights and jurisdictions of Vietnam,” as per the news report.
She further said, “Vietnam has and is taking appropriate measures, which comply with international law, to ensure our legitimate rights and interests.” The statement of Pham Thu Hang comes after Chinese and Vietnamese vessels confronted each other on multiple occasions this week, as per The Diplomat report.
The vessels of China and Vietnam confronted each other after a Chinese research ship entered Hanoi’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) to carry out a survey. The incursion came after a Vietnamese announced that it was expanding its oil drilling operations in Vanguard Bank, a Vietnamese-held feature claimed by China.
The development came after the Chinese government opened a hot-pot restaurant on Woody Island in the Paracel Islands. Vietnamese nationalists have been angered by Chinese nationalists. As per the news report, South Vietnamese soldiers were displaced by China from the Paracels using force in 1974.
Pham Thu Hang has denounced the Philippines’ recent deployment of navigational buoys in disputed waters. On May 14, the Philippine Coast Guard announced that it had deployed five buoys in the South China Sea, including at Whitsun Reef in the Spratly Islands, which is also claimed by Vietnam, as per the news report.
Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson Commodore Jay Tarriela said that the placement of the buoys, each of which is adorned with the Philippine flag, demonstrates “the country’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the exclusive economic zone (EEZ)”, as per The Diplomat report.
Responding to the question regarding Philippine buoys, Pham Thu Hang said that Vietnam “strongly opposes all acts violating Vietnam’s sovereign rights.” She further said that her government has adequate “legal basis and historical evidence” to assert sovereignty over Paracel and Spratly archipelagos according to international law.
Pham Thu Hang called on all relevant parties to respect the sovereignty of Vietnam. She said, “Vietnam asks all relevant parties to respect Vietnam’s sovereignty, international law, and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea while making practical and positive contributions to the maintenance of peace and stability in the South China Sea, as well as creating a conducive environment for the negotiations for a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea,” The Diplomat reported.
The Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokesperson’s remarks showcase that the Southeast Asian claimants in the South China Sea – Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei have myriad complex and unresolved maritime and territorial disputes of their own, as per the news report.
These nations oppose “China’s maximalist nine-dash line claim” to vast swathes of the South China Sea. However, the disagreements between these nations demonstrated by overlapping on maps of the South China Sea with one another are significant reasons that are preventing them from showcasing a united front against China’s activities in the region.
Both Vietnam and Philippines should also place their buoys around the Chinese buoys. Plus they should have a few batteries of BRAHMOS ready to drive the required sense into the PLAN Commanders.