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Vietnam opposes Taiwanese leader’s visit to Truong Sa (Spratlys)

Friday, January 29, 2016, 11:29 GMT+7

Vietnam has resolutely condemned a recent illegal visit by a Taiwanese leader to Ba Binh (Itu Aba) Island, part of the former’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago.

Ma Ying-jeou’s visit to Ba Binh, despite strong criticism from Vietnam and the international community, is a serious violation of Vietnamese territorial sovereignty, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Le Hai Binh said on Thursday.

Ba Binh is an island in Vietnam’s Truong Sa which Taiwan has been illegally occupying.

Taiwan has recently completed the construction of a lighthouse and port valued at US$100 million on the island. 

Ma’s illicit visit to Ba Binh is considered contradictory to Taiwan’s recent announcement that it wished to contribute to the preservation of peace and stability in the East Vietnam Sea, according to the spokesperson.

“Once again, Vietnam reiterates that it has sufficient legal grounds and historical evidence proving the country’s indisputable sovereignty over the Truong Sa and Hoang Sa [Paracel] archipelagoes,” Spokesperson Binh asserted.

Taiwan’s infringement on Vietnam’s territory only causes escalation and complication to the situation in the East Vietnam seas, he said.

Vietnam strongly objects to the Taiwanese leader’s visit and demands that Taiwan halt its infringement on Vietnamese sovereignty over the group of islands, he added.

Ma visited the healthcare and agricultural facilities on Ba Binh and expressed his intention to improve medical services on the island for humanitarian purposes, according to a press release on Thursday by Ma’s office.

In response to Ma’s visit, Sonia Urbom, a spokesperson of the United States’ representative office in Taiwan, expressed disappointment from Washington and acknowledged that the trip was unhelpful and lacked any contribution to the peaceful settlement of territorial disputes in the East Vietnam Sea.

Ma replied with a statement saying that Taiwan has the same goals as the U.S. regarding the situation in the East Vietnam Sea, and hopes for peace, not war, according to Reuters.   

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