Tuesday 11 May 2021
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Vietnam slams China for drills in disputed waters, says ‘could impact ASEAN ties’

Both Vietnam and the Philippines vociferously protest against the movement of Chinese forces in the disputed parts of the South China Sea

Vietnam has said China’s military drills in the disputed part of the South China Sea could create tension in the region and impact Beijing’s ties with ASEAN. The south-eastern country criticised the imperial power for conducting military exercises in a disputed part of the southern stretch of the Pacific Ocean that China named after itself.

Vietnam warned Beijing, saying it was creating tension in the region and impacting its relations with its neighbours and ASEAN too.

The Philippines blasted China for the drills too, as Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana called PLA Air Force exercises in the waters near the Paracel Islands “highly provocative”.

Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry termed the military drills a violation of sovereignty that could be “detrimental” to Beijing’s relationship with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

China claims ‘historical jurisdiction’; Vietnam, the Philippines disagree

These statements from Vietnam and Philippine follow China’s five-day exercise from 1 July near the Paracels. On 27 June, the Hainan’s Maritime Safety Administration had announced it. Besides China, Vietnam lays claim over the Paracels.

Both Vietnam and the Philippines have vociferously protested against the movement of China’s forces in the disputed areas of the South China Sea. They call it blatant disregard for boundaries outlined in international maritime law.

Based on the ludicrous claim of a mediaeval map of a Chinese Empire, Beijing claims historical jurisdiction over about 80% of the sea.

Warning of growing insecurity in south-east Asia at an ASEAN summit held on 26 June, Hanoi and Manila raised concern that China was using the global COVID pandemic to heighten naval activities and advance its territorial claims over the disputed region.

Drills detrimental to China’s relations with ASEAN: Vietnam, the Philippines

While the Philippines has no claim to the Paracels, its defence secretary said his country wouldn’t accept China’s holding exercises beyond its own waters.

Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry also sent a diplomatic note to China to oppose exercises that “seriously violate Vietnam’s sovereignty”, spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said at a regular briefing. The drills “further complicate the situation, and are detrimental to the relationship between China and ASEAN”, she said.

In April, a Chinese maritime surveillance vessel had sunk a Vietnamese fishing boat. China had called Hanoi’s maritime claims illegal and “doomed to fail” after the incident.

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