The foreign ministry has publicly rejected China’s recent illegal installation of light buoys in Vietnamese waters.
“The installation of light buoys at entities [in waters around] the Spratly Islands without Vietnam’s approval is a violation of Vietnam’s sovereignty over the islands, and thus has no legal value,” deputy spokeswoman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pham Thu Hang said in a Thursday press release.
Hang’s response came after the Chinese Ministry of Transport on Monday announced via social media the installation of at least three new light buoys in the South China Sea near the Irving Reef, Whitsun Reef and Gaven Reef, all of which are located within Vietnam’s territorial waters surrounding the Spratly Islands.
The Chinese ministry said the installation was to ensure the safety of maritime activities. Chinese authorities did not specify when exactly the buoys had been installed.
“Vietnam requests relevant parties to not engage in actions that complicate the situation. We ask for the respect of Vietnam’s sovereignty, international law, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DOC) in the East Sea, as well as for the protection of an environment of peace, stability and cooperation in the East Sea,” Hang added.
“Vietnam has the full legal basis and historical evidence to assert its sovereignty over the Spratly and Paracel islands in accordance with international law,” she concluded.
Vietnam calls the South China Sea the East Sea.