Vietnam has condemned China’s reported laying of submarine cables in the Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago as illegal and invalid.
|The spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang during Thursday's press briefing in Hanoi. — VNA/VNS Photo Lam Khanh|
Foreign ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang made the statement on Thursday during a briefing in Hanoi in response to reports from vessel tracking software and satellite imagery indicating a Chinese ship might be conducting installing undersea cables in the area.
“Vietnam has sufficient historical evidence and legal basis to assert its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes in line with international laws,” Hang said.
All activities conducted related to these two archipelagoes without express approval from Vietnam constitute serious violations of Vietnam’s sovereignty and are totally invalid, Hang said, adding that all countries need to act responsibly, refrain from complicating the situation, and make helpful contributions to security and peace in the South China Sea (referred to as East Sea in Vietnam).
During the briefing, media also asked about Vietnam’s reaction to a diplomatic note sent from the US to the UN Secretary General’s office to protest China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea as “inconsistent with international law,” referring to a 2016 arbitral ruling that rejected China’s nine-dash line.
Vietnam expressed interest in the fact that many UN members have submitted diplomatic notes conveying their stances on the South China Sea, Hang said, adding that these notes are common practice in the UN.
Vietnam’s stance on the South China Sea and issues regarding sovereignty, sovereign rights and other maritime rights have been clear, consistent and reiterated multiple times, the spokesperson said.
“The international community along with the United Nations always appreciates its members’ respect for, promotion of and compliance with international law, including UNCLOS 1982,” Hang said.
US anti-racism protests
Regarding widespread protests in the US over the death of a black man in police custody, Vietnam’s Government is closely following the situation and shared concerns with the US government and people over the spates of riots and violence that threaten the economy or safety and livelihoods of the people, Hang said.
Amidst this uncertain background, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has instructed its mission in the US to stay updated on the protests and to keep in touch with the Vietnamese community in the US to carry out citizen protection measures when needed.
Earlier, the Vietnamese embassy in the US recommended Vietnamese citizens avoid travelling to protest areas and to strictly observe local authorities’ regulations.
Vietnamese citizens are asked to contact local police and the Vietnamese representative agency in the US should they require assistance.
So far, there have been no reports of Vietnamese citizens being affected by the ongoing protests.
Ready for EVFTA
Vietnam is ready to implement Europe-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and Europe-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA), Hang said, adding that the EVFTA is slated to take effect starting this August after both Vietnamese and EU parliaments ratified the deal, while the EVIPA still awaits approval from EU members.
The two deals will help promote Asia-Europe ties and investment and business activities, enhance economic liberalisation based on transparency and equity, Hang said.
EU was the biggest export market of Vietnam after the US in 2019, with total import-export turnover reaching US$56.4 billion.
The EVFTA, the EU's most ambitious trade deal with a developing economy, is expected to help Vietnam’s GDP increase by 2.2-3.3 per cent in the first five years after taking effect. VNS
Foreign experts have condemned China’s recent actions in the East Sea, saying its moves have escalated tensions in the region and infringed upon international law.
The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) will not only help to raise export turnover but also increase the competitiveness of Vietnamese fruit and vegetables and fisheries products in the European market.