Vietnam has condemned the illegal establishment of a Chinese bank on the former’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago.
Beijing’s establishment of a branch of the Bank of China (BOC) in so-called Sansha City on Phu Lam (Woody) Island, part of Hoang Sa Archipelago, on February 5 is unlawful and merely an act to fortify China’s groundless claim over the East Vietnam Sea, Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Le Hai Binh stated on Thursday.
Sansha is a quasi-prefecture-level city of Hainan Province, illegally established by China to administer several island groups and undersea atolls in the East Vietnam Sea, including the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes.
“We have repeatedly reiterated that Vietnam has indisputable sovereignty over the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes. Therefore, any activity carried out by foreign countries in this area without Vietnam’s consent is considered illegal,” the Vietnamese diplomat asserted.
Answering questions regarding Vietnam’s plan to cope with the U.S. withdrawal from the Trans- Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement, Binh confirmed that the Southeast Asian country will continue to fulfill its commitment toward improving the country’s competitiveness and investment environment.