Hanoi opposed a trip sponsored by Taiwanese authorities that sent 20 international reporters to an island belonging to Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago on Wednesday.
Taiwan dispatching the journalists to Ba Binh (Itu Aba) Island in Truong Sa, despite the concern and objection of Vietnam and the international community, is a serious violation of Vietnamese territory, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Le Hai Binh affirmed on Thursday.
The action only intensifies the regional situation and is a negative contribution to the preservation of peace and stability in the East Vietnam Sea and the relations between the two sides, according to Spokesperson Binh.
He reiterated that Hanoi has sufficient legal grounds and historical evidence to back its indisputable sovereignty over the Truong Sa and Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelagoes.
All activities being carried out in the two areas without Vietnamese authorities’ consent will be considered unlawful, null, and void, the Vietnamese diplomat asserted.
“We strongly protest Taiwan’s action and demand that it respect Vietnam’s territorial sovereignty and that it not repeat any activities that cause escalation and complication to the situation. Taiwan must have practical measures to help maintain peace and stability in the East Vietnam Sea,” Binh said.
On Wednesday, a group of 20 international reporters, among whom some were from CNN, Reuters and AP, were taken to Ba Binh Island by the Taiwanese air force’s military transport aircraft C-130.
Guided by a Taiwanese official, the journalists visited the post office, freshwater well, seaport, and a temple designed using traditional Chinese architecture - all of which were illegally constructed on the island by Taiwan.
Taiwanese leader Ma Ying-jeou also paid a visit to Ba Binh Island in late January.
Ma visited healthcare and agricultural facilities on the island and expressed his intention to improve medical services on the island for humanitarian purposes.
Hanoi reacted to the incident by expressing its resolute condemnation of the visit, demanding that Taiwan halt its infringement on Vietnamese sovereignty over the group of islands.