This statement, made by Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Le Hai Binh, was in response to the U.S. Navy having carried out a campaign for the freedom of navigation in a marine area near Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago on Saturday.
“Once again, Vietnam reiterates its indisputable sovereignty over Hoang Sa as well as Truong Sa [Spratly] archipelagoes,” the Vietnam News Agency quoted Spokesperson Binh as saying on Sunday.
As a member nation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea established in 1982, Vietnam respects the right of other countries to innocent passage in its territorial waters as per the regulations promulgated in international law.
The Southeast Asian country calls on the international community to give active, practical contributions to the maintenance of peace and stability in the East Vietnam Sea as well as compliance with international law, the spokesperson underlined.
On Saturday, the destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur of the U.S. Navy sailed within 12 nautical miles off Tri Ton Island, part of Vietnam’s Hoang Sa, according to Reuters.
China is illegally occupying Hoang Sa after using force to seize it in 1974.
Pentagon Spokesperson Jeff Davis asserted that the patrol was conducted to counter China’s efforts to restrict navigation rights and freedom in the area, the British news agency reported.