Vietnam responds to USS Lassen patrol around Chinese-built islands

Related parties should contribute to maintaining peace, stability, and maritime and aviation security and safety in the East Vietnam Sea, the Vietnamese foreign minister has said

Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Le Hai Binh is seen in this file photo.

Related parties in the East Vietnam Sea should contribute to maintaining peace, stability, and maritime and aviation security and safety, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said.  

Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh released this statement on Thursday in relation to the fact that the U.S. had deployed guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen to an area consisting of geographical structures belonging to Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago in the sea.

Binh reiterated that Vietnam has sovereignty over Truong Sa and Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelagos in the maritime area.

He added that Vietnam is a member of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).    

Hanoi respects freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Vietnam Sea on the basis of the convention and regulations of relevant coastal countries.

“Vietnam calls on related parties to actively contribute to maintaining peace, stability, and maritime and aviation security and safety in line with international law, including the UNCLOS and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Vietnam Sea (DOC),” Binh said in the statement.

On October 27 (Vietnam time), the U.S. Department of Defense said that destroyer USS Lassen, escorted by two patrol planes of the U.S. Navy, completed its patrol mission in the 12-nautical-mile area around the artificial islands China has illegally constructed on Su Bi (Subi) and Vanh Khan (Mischief) Reefs, part of Truong Sa.

Tran Cong Truc, former head of the Vietnamese government’s Border Department, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that Washington had showed its determination to ensure freedom of aviation and navigation in the East Vietnam Sea by sending the destroyer to the area.

“The U.S.’s deployment of its warship to the 12-nautical-mile waters around the artificial islands built up by China is totally legal, as these areas are international seas,” Truc said.

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