China’s act of including the entire East Sea in its expanded storm warning area cannot change the fact that Vietnam has adequate legal grounds and historical evidence to prove its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Le Hai Binh has said.

In fielding questions submitted by reporters during the Foreign Ministry’s regular press conference in Hanoi on July 3, the spokesman affirmed that after China illegally placed its Haiyang Shiyou drilling rig-981 in Vietnam’s waters, Vietnam has worked to maintain communication channels at various levels with China to deal with the issue by peaceful means on the grounds of international law.

Exchanges and trade activities between the two countries are undergoing normally, he told the reporters.

Binh informed that the Vietnamese law enforcement forces operating in the Chinese rig site have persistently deployed communication measures to demand the Chinese side withdraw its rig together with escort ships and aircraft from Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. They have taken moves to avoid Chinese vehicles’ aggressive acts.

Such aggressive acts committed by the Chinese side have negatively impacted on maritime security and safety in the region, Binh stated.

Responding to queries on the significance of the Vietnam visit by the Philippine Foreign Minister, he said the two sides exchanged in depth measures that will further step up bilateral cooperation and elevate the two countries’ ties to strategic partnership.

The two sides touched upon cooperation within ASEAN, affirming that they will continue working with other grouping members to successfully build an ASEAN community, while highlighting the unity and the central role of the bloc in regional cooperation and architecture as well as the common and responsible voice to the region’s important issues, including the East Sea issue, for peace, stability, cooperation and development in the area, according to the spokesman.

Regarding the East Sea issue, the two sides together demanded actions violating international law and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) be ended, while calling for the exercise of restraint to deescalate and not complicate the situation, ensuring the full and stringent implementation of the DOC along with speeding up discussions for the early formation of the Code of Conduct in the East Sea.

Turning to the country’s signing of an agreement on the Host Country with the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), Binh said during its current extensive and intensive international integration, Vietnam is actively taking part in international forums and mechanisms on both regional and global scales. The signing of PCA is a step forward to realise the country’s international integration policy.-VNA