Vietnam urges China to act responsibly after reports of militarising of islands

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HÀ NỘI – China needs to act responsibly and constructively to maintain peace and stability in the region and the East Sea on the basis of international law, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lê Thị Thu Hằng said on Thursday.

She spoke at the ministry’s regular briefing while answering a question about reports that China is in the process of militarising islands in the Trường Sa (Spratly) and Hoàng Sa (Paracel) archipelagoes.

“Việt Nam has sufficient legal foundation and historical evidence affirming its sovereignty over Hoàng Sa and Trường Sa archipelagos,” she stressed.

Any activities by foreign countries in the area without Việt Nam’s permission are completely illegal and cannot change the fact that Việt Nam has sovereignty over these two archipelagos, she added.

Friendship with RoK

Việt Nam wishes to develop friendship with all nations who were once involved in the wars in the country, including the Republic of Korea (RoK), the spokesperson said in response to the explanation of her Korean counterpart about President Moon Jae-in’s remarks regarding RoK soldiers who fought in the Việt Nam war.

The two countries’ leaders have reached agreement on setting aside the past and looking towards the future, she said.

The Foreign Ministry in Seoul said Tuesday that the country cherishes its relations with Việt Nam and wants to advance the ties further.

The statement came in the wake of a request by the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry asking the Korean government not to take any action and make any comment harming Vietnamese feelings, in response to a speech by President Moon Jae-in on June 6 honouring Korean “contributors” on battlefields in foreign countries, including Việt Nam.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, the RoK Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Cho June-hyuck said, “We cherish our relations with Việt Nam very much.”

Citizens in Qatar stable

At the press conference yesterday, the spokesperson also provided information about Vietnamese citizens in Qatar, noting that their situation is stable despite the tensions there.

Hằng said the Vietnamese Embassy in Qatar has regularly updated Hà Nội of developments.

The embassy is keeping close contact with companies sending Vietnamese workers to Qatar and the workers’ liaison board in the country to update them of the situation. It has also advised Vietnamese citizens to get on with their lives as usual and asked them to maintain communication with the embassy to receive timely assistance if needed.

The foreign ministry is also coordinating closely with domestic agencies to provide citizen with protection measures if these become necessary, the spokesperson said.

Vietnamese suspect trial

Regarding the trial of Đoàn Thị Hương, a suspect in the death of a Democratic People’s Republic of Korea citizen, and the preparation for her fourth trial, Hằng quoted the Vietnamese Embassy in Malaysia as saying that Hương is in stable physical and spiritual condition.

She added that the foreign ministry was working closely with the Vietnamese Embassy in Malaysia, the Việt Nam Bar Federation, and Malaysian lawyers to protect Hương’s interests.

In the case of Phạm Minh Hoàng who was stripped of Vietnamese nationality, Hằng said Phạm Minh Hoàng violated the law and national security. Authorised Vietnamese agencies have notified Hoàng and the French Embassy in Hà Nội of this measure.

Friday, June 16, 2017 – 12:09

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