A satellite photo of Fiery Cross Reef (Photo: CSIS)

Paris (VNA) – Vietnamese organisations in France issued a statement on January 18 to condemn China’s pilot flights to the illegally-built airstrip on Chu Thap (Fiery Cross) Reef in Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago.

The organisations included the Vietnamese People’s Association in France (UGVF), the Association of Vietnamese Scientists and Experts (AVSE), the Vietnamese Students’ Union in France (UEVF), the East Sea Research Group in France, and the Information and Documentation Centre of Contemporary Vietnam (CID).

The statement stressed that the organisations, representing over 300,000 Vietnamese people and friends of Vietnam in France, resolutely opposed China’s above-mentioned test flights.

They made it clear that those dangerous actions by Beijing seriously violated international law, especially the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which prohibits all unilateral actions aiming to alter the status quo in the region.

The statement called upon the international community to object to China’s provocative actions so as to ensure navigational freedom, regional stability and global peace.

On January 2 and 6, China conducted test flights to the airstrip that it constructed illegally on Chu Thap Reef in Vietnam’s Truong Sa archipelago.

In response to that action, Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Le Hai Binh emphasised that China’s actions seriously infringed Vietnam’s sovereignty over Truong Sa archipelago and ran counter to the common perception of the two countries’ leaders, the agreement on basic principles guiding the settlement of sea-related issues between Vietnam and China, and the spirit of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).

Those actions also affected peace and stability in the East Sea, undermined the countries’ political trusts, and negatively impacted the neighbourliness and fine sentiment between the two peoples, he noted.

Binh added that Vietnam adamantly opposes the aforementioned actions by China and requests China immediately stop and not repeat similar activities, and instead should make practical and concrete contributions to maintaining peace, stability and security, and safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea.-VNA