US Ambassador to ASEAN Nina Hachigian (Photo: massispost.com)
Hanoi (VNA) – US Ambassador to ASEAN Nina Hachigian has expressed concern over China sending fighter jets to Phu Lam Island in Vietnam’s Hoang Sa Archipelago where earlier this month, it deployed HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles.

“We are very concerned that these actions are increasing tensions in the region and are counterproductive,” she told reporters at a press conference in Jakarta, Indonesia on February 24.

Fewer than 10 jets have been spotted on the disputed island, officials in Washington said on February 23. Experts voiced alarm that China is constructing a high frequency radar facility on the island alongside new airstrips and other facilities on several artificial islands constructed in Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago.

“Vietnam is deeply concerned over China’s aforementioned activities, which seriously violate Vietnam’s sovereignty of the archipelago and threaten peace and stability in the region as well as navigation and aviation security, safety and freedom in the East Sea,” Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Le Hai Binh said on February 19.

He made the remarks in reply to queries from reporters on China’s construction of a military helicopter base on Quang Hoa Island and its deployment of HQ-9 missiles on Phu Lam Island.

“Vietnam demands China to immediately end these wrongdoings,” Binh said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a diplomatic note to the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi on the same day to protest against China’s infringements of Vietnam’s sovereignty on the Hoang Sa Archipelago.

Vietnam’s permanent mission to the UN also sent a diplomatic note to the UN Secretary-General proposing the official circulation of the Vietnamese foreign ministry’s diplomatic note.-VNA