spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry Le Thi Thu Hang has said.

Vietnam objects to China’s military drills in Hoang Sa: FM spokesperson hinh anh 1

Spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry Le Thi Thu Hang

Foreign ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang informed the media of the action on Thursday during a press briefing held in Hanoi.

“Vietnam has had exchanges with the Chinese side and has issued a diplomatic note protesting the move and requesting China do not repeat this action in the future,” Hang said.

The military drill is reportedly being held from July 1-5 around Vietnam’s Hoàng Sa (Paracel Islands) in the East Sea (internationally known as the South China Sea), a large part of the island chain China seized control of illegally by force from Vietnam in the 1970s.

"The drill constitutes a serious violation of Vietnam's sovereignty, complicated the situation, impaired the ongoing negotiations on the Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea between ASEAN and China, and undermined the maintenance of peace, security and co-operation in the East Sea," the Vietnamese diplomat said.

Previously, China also announced the establishment of administrative districts in the East Sea to govern over both Hoàng Sa and Trường Sa (Spratly) islands, which also met with a rebuke from Vietnam.

Responding to reports of the recent entry of China's survey ship Hai Yang 4 into Vietnam's exclusive economic zone, Hang stressed all surveying and exploration activities must be conducted with the approval of Vietnam, in line with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

ASEAN, China to step up COC talks

Hang said ASEAN and China had committed to continuing to step up negotiations over a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) during the 26th ASEAN - China Senior Officials’ Consultation, held via videoconferencing on July 1.

Hang said the two sides reached consensus on several important orientations for ASEAN - China collaboration in the near future on the back of effective implementation of the vision for the ASEAN - China strategic partnership to 2030, including developing the digital economy and high-quality human resources and jointly working on emerging challenges such as cyber security, natural disasters, and trans-national crime.

She said the two sides also debated practical cooperation in mitigating the impact of COVID-19.

The Chinese side affirmed its support for the ASEAN Fund for COVID-19 Response and the regional emergency medical supply reserve. It also offered new cooperation initiatives, including holding the ASEAN - China Forum on health cooperation and considering safe travelling corridors between China and ASEAN countries.

The two sides also expressed a wish to resume the COC talks when possible, she added, and highlighted the need for the serious and full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).


US ties anniversary

Regarding the upcoming 25th anniversary of the normalisation of relations between the US and Vietnam on July 11-12, both sides have organised many activities in both Vietnam and the US to commemorate this, Hằng said.

However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, events and activities such as delegation exchanges, conferences, forums on bilateral trade, as well as other economic and trade promotion activities, were affected, she added.

The two countries were determined to hold anniversary events with "flexible formats", Hang said.

A quarter-century after the normalisation of diplomatic ties and six years since the setting up of a comprehensive partnership, relations between Việt Nam and the US have improved in both bilateral and multilateral frameworks.

"In the coming time, the two sides will further co-operation to deepen Vietnam-US ties, contributing to the maintenance of peace, security, co-operation and development in the region as well as the world," Hang said. 

Stability in Hong Kong

Responding to questions on Vietnam's reactions to China's adoption of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region late in June, Hang said Vietnam is watching the situation in Hong Kong with interest.

"Vietnam respects and supports China's one country two systems policy, the Basic Law of Hong Kong and other related mechanisms. Hong Kong issues are China's internal affairs," the Vietnamese diplomat said, adding that Vietnam always wants stability and prosperity in Hong Kong, to live up to its status as an important financial hub of the region and the world.

Vietnam, Cambodia resolve to prevent community spread of COVID-19

Vietnam appreciates Cambodia’s decision to annul diplomatic note 698 MFA.IC/API on restricting cross-border travel between the two countries, Hang said.

Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation notified the Vietnamese Embassy of the termination of the validity of the March diplomatic note on June 22.

In reply to a Vietnam News Agency reporter’s question regarding the move, the spokesperson said Vietnam and Cambodia have been coordinating closely to ensure entry and exit of prioritized cases, especially students, and normal border trade between the two countries.

She went on to say that in the context of complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region and the world, authorized agencies of both sides will continue to study and discuss ways to ease entry-exit restrictions based on the pandemic situation and each country’s health regulations, towards the highest goal of well controlling the pandemic and preventing it from spreading in the community in both countries. VNS/VNA