Chinese 'Research Mission' to Hoang Sa islands “illegal”: Foreign ministry
All research activities in the Hoang Sa (Paracel) islands without Vietnam’s express permission are illegal, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Le Thi Thu Hang, said at a press briefing on Thursday.
|China's largest-ever oceanographic research and training vessel "Sun Yat-sen University" is seen off the coast of Shanghai, June 26, 2021. — Photo from CGTN|
It has been reported that China plans to deploy one of its "largest-ever" oceanographic research and training vessels, named the Sun Yat-sen University, in October of this year.
The vessel, characterised as “a mobile laboratory at sea” took some 20 months to complete. It is set to sail to the Hoang Sa islands (which is called 'Xisha Islands' by China) in the disputed South China Sea area on the first stop of 'a scientific research mission', China Global Television Network (CGTN) has reported.
“As we have reiterated many times, Vietnam has sufficient legal grounds and historical evidence to assert its sovereignty over the Truong Sa and Hoang Sa islands. Vietnam has lawful rights over these waters which is provided by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” Hang said.
The Vietnamese diplomat stressed that all research activities, surveying, and scientific exploration conducted in the Truong Sa and Hoang Sa islands, without Vietnam’s approval, constitutes a “violation of the sovereignty and relevant rights of Vietnam, and is therefore illegal and null and void."
Female coast guard officers
At the press conference the role of women in the Vietnamese coast guard was also raised following reports of Philippines’ deployment of female radio operator officers to the crews patrolling the South China Sea – known as “Angels of the Sea” – to help soften the tension with foreign ships and maintain peace.
“The Vietnamese State and Communist Party have made every effort to improve Vietnam’s policies and laws to ensure gender equality and women's empowerment," Hang said in response to question over Vietnam's plan with female officer coast guards.
"We strive to enable women to gain greater access to, and participate in, all aspects of social and political life. This includes enhancing the role of women in the armed forces,”
“Vietnam’s female coast guard officers have taken on diverse range of positions and successfully fulfilled their assigned missions. They have contributed to the realisation of political commitments of the Party and State of Vietnam. Vietnam is a responsible member of the international community and stands ready to address international issues and sustain an environment of peace, security, and stability for cooperation and development in the region and in the world more broadly”.
Source: Vietnam News
Spokeswoman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang has reaffirmed Vietnam’s sovereignty and legitimate rights over Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes.