China has seriously infringed upon Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago in the East Sea by launching a military exercise to the northeast of the group of islands, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The ministry’s spokesman, Le Hai Binh, made the statement at a regular press briefing in Hanoi on Thursday. “China’s Maritime Safety Administration on July 20 said that Beijing would conduct a military drill from July 22 to 31 in the area covering islands and reefs to the northeast of Vietnam’s Hoang Sa,” Binh said. The spokesman emphasized that “this action goes against the common perceptions reached by the two countries’ leaders, obstructs the development of bilateral relations, and threatens maritime security and safety in the region.” Vietnam opposes this action and demands that China respect Vietnamese sovereignty, act responsibly, and immediately stop moves that complicate the situation in the sea area, Binh said.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has repeatedly affirmed that the country has full historical and legal evidence to prove its indisputable sovereignty over the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes. “All acts undertaken by other parties in Hoang Sa and Truong Sa without Vietnam’s permission are illegal, null and void,” Binh said at another press briefing in Hanoi on October 2, 2014.