Hanoi (VNA)US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and his Philippine counterpart Hermogenes Esperon had phone talks on March 31 during which they expressed their shared concerns over Chinese activities in the South China Sea (known as the East Sea in Vietnam), the White House said.

Sullivan underscored that the US stands with its Philippine allies in upholding the rules-based international maritime order.

The two sides agreed that their countries will “continue to coordinate closely in responding to challenges in the South China Sea," according to the White House.

At the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry’s regular press conference on March 25, Spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang replied to a question about many Chinese ships operating at Ba Dau (Whitsun) Reef in Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago.

She said Vietnam has sufficient legal ground and historical evidence testifying to its sovereignty over Truong Sa in accordance with international law.

As a coastal country and a member of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Vietnam is entitled to sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction over its waters established in accordance with UNCLOS, Hang noted.

The operation of Chinese ships within the territorial waters of Sinh Ton Dong (Grierson) Reef in Vietnam’s Truong Sa archipelago has violated Vietnam’s sovereignty and UNCLOS’s regulations on the operation of foreign vessels in the territorial waters of a coastal nation, run counter to the spirit and content of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and complicated the situation, which is unfavourable for the negotiation on a Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea between ASEAN and China, she added.

The spokeswoman stressed that Vietnam demands China end its violations; respect Vietnam’s sovereignty; implement UNCLOS with goodwill; seriously comply with the DOC, especially the obligation of exercising self-restraint and not complicating the situation; create a favourable environment for the COC negotiation; and contribute to the maintenance of peace, security, stability and legal order at sea in the region./.