Vietnam asks China not to militarize artificial islands in the East Sea

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs affirmed that the militarization of features in the Spratlys violates Vietnam’s sovereignty and asks China to stop this behavior.

“Promoting the militarization of some features in the East Sea not only violates Vietnam’s sovereignty but also causes concern for relevant countries and is not conducive to regional peace and stability,” the deputy spokesman said. Foreign Ministry member Pham Thu Hang said at a press conference today.

Ms. Hang emphasized that Vietnam has sufficient historical evidence and legal basis to assert its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos, in accordance with international law. “Vietnam demands that China respect its sovereignty and not take actions to militarize or destabilize the region,” the deputy spokesman said.

Mischief Reef in Vietnam's Truong Sa archipelago on March 20.  Photo: AP.

Mischief Reef in Vietnam’s Truong Sa archipelago on March 20. Photo: AP.

The statement was made by Ms. Hang when asked about information that China seems to have completed construction work on missile depots, hangars, radar systems and other military facilities on Mischief Reef and Subi Reef. and Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands of Vietnam.

Before that, the news agency AP quoting Admiral John Aquilino, commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command, as saying that China has completed militarization activities on three artificial islands illegally built on these features, but it is not clear if they will build additional military infrastructure on other features.

Aquilino said these actions are completely contrary to China’s commitment that it will not turn artificial islands into military bases. He assessed this as part of China’s process of consolidating its military power in the East Sea.

Seven features (in red) of Vietnam's Truong Sa have been illegally built by China into artificial islands.  Graphics: NY Times.

Seven features (in red) of Vietnam’s Truong Sa have been illegally built by China into artificial islands. Graphics: NY Times.

Mischief Reef, Subi Reef and Cross Reef are three of the seven features in Vietnam’s Truong Sa archipelago that China has illegally occupied and built into artificial islands. The remaining entities are Ga Ven rock, Tu Nghia rock, Gac Ma rock and Chau Vien rock.

Vu Anh

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