Tue, 11 May 2021

Hanoi [Vietnam], April 8 (ANI): Vietnam has joined the Philippines in opposing the amassing of Chinese fishing vessels in a disputed Asian sea and demanded that Beijing should cease its violations and respect Hanoi's sovereignty.

"Activities of Chinese ships...seriously violate Vietnam's sovereignty," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson in Hanoi said while referring to the amassing of Chinese vessels in Ba Dau (Whitsun) reef within Viet Nam's Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands.

This comes after a Vietnamese coast guard vessel was moored near Whitsun Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands last week, the Voice of America reported citing the Marine Traffic website data.

"The activities of the Chinese vessels within the territorial sea around of Sinh Ton Dong (Grierson) in Viet Nam's Truong Sa Islands violate Viet Nam's sovereignty and the provisions of UNCLOS (United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea)," the Hanoi spokesperson added.

The Philippines' defence chief Delfin Lorenzana last Sunday said the continued presence of Chinese maritime militias around the Whitsun Reef reveals their intent to further occupy features in the West Philippine Sea. Lorenzana has repeated calls for the Chinese boats to leave Whitsun Reef (Julian Felipe Reef), located within its exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea.

Last week, the US and the Philippines raised concerns over the presence of China's maritime militia vessels near the disputed Whitsun Reef in the South China Sea.

The White House in a statement said the National Security Advisors from the US and Philippines discussed their shared concerns regarding the recent massing of People's Armed Forces Maritime Militia vessels at Whitsun Reef.

Last month, the Philippines announced the deployment of additional navy ships to the South China Sea after over 200 Chinese vessels were spotted in the Whitsun Reef. Later, the Philippines also filed a diplomatic protest over the issue.

The Asia-Pacific region features several territorial disputes in the South China and East China seas which involve Brunei, China, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Beijing claims most of the region. (ANI)

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