Vietnam protested China over its announcement of the formation of two island counties on the disputed Paracel Islands (Sisha) and the Spratly Archipelago (Nansha) in the East Sea (Vietnamese name for the South China Sea). This was announced on Sunday by the director of the information and press department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) Le Thi Thu Hang.
According to her, Vietnam is strongly opposed to the actions of China and believes that such decisions are null and void and contrary to the spirit of good neighborliness in relations between the two countries. “Such steps by the Chinese side seriously violate the sovereignty of Vietnam over the Cheongsha archipelago (the Vietnamese name Spratly) and the Hoangsha islands (the Vietnamese name for the Paracel Islands), do not benefit the relations between the countries and contribute to the complication of the situation in the East Sea, in the region and in the world, “- said the representative of the Foreign Ministry of Vietnam.
The diplomat’s speech came after April 18, when the Chinese authorities announced the creation of the territorial districts of Nansha and Xisha, which will be administratively subordinate to the municipality of Sansha on Hainan Island. Le Thi Thu Hang recalled that Hanoi “has enough historical and legal grounds, confirming its undeniable sovereignty” over the islands of Cheongsha and Hoangsha. In this regard, Vietnam requires China to respect the sovereignty of the SRV, immediately cancel these illegal decisions, and prevent similar steps in the future, said the director of the information and press department of the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry.
The dispute between Hanoi and Beijing over the ownership of the Paracel Islands and the Spratly archipelago, which both Vietnam and China consider being their own, has been going on for many years. At the same time, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and the Philippines also claim partial or full claims to these territories. In addition to the strategic location at the crossroads of the Indian and Pacific oceans’ sea routes, the value of the islands is also determined by the fact that, according to expert estimates, their shelf contains significant reserves of oil and mineral raw materials, the development of which each of the candidates for the disputed islands seeks to start developing.
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