Vietnam accuses China of sovereignty infringement in South China Sea

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Aug 20 (efe-epa).- Vietnam on Thursday accused China of infringing on its sovereignty and threatening peace in the South China Sea by deploying aircraft carriers and warplanes to a disputed archipelago.

Foreign ministry spokesman Le Thi Thu Hang told a press conference that China’s military deployment to the Paracel Islands, which Vietnam calls Hoang Sa, would further complicate tensions in the maritime area.

“We call on all parties to contribute in a responsible manner to maintain peace, stability and security in the South China Sea,” he added.

He reaffirmed Vietnam’s territorial claims to the parts of the Paracel and Spratly Islands and lamented China’s military exercises in the region, which began on 1 August, according to local news outlet Thanh Nien.

China claims sovereignty over almost the entirety of the South China Sea, a strategically important maritime region through which some 30 percent of global trade transits. It is also home to around 12 percent of the world’s fishing grounds.

However, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also claim territory and maritime borders in the region.

In recent months Chinese navy vessels have carried out incursions into Vietnamese and Filipino waters, which has served to escalate tensions between China and its neighbors, as well as the United States.

A Hague tribunal in 2016 ruled in favor of the Philippines’ claim to parts of the South China Sea, including the Scarborough Shoal and parts of the Spratly Islands. Beijing has refused to accept the ruling.

Vietnam and China share a land border that extends over 1,300 kilometers and relations between the pair have historically been plagued with tensions.

Both engaged in a brief war in 1979 when China invaded northern Vietnam in response to Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia the previous year to put an end to the rule of the Khmer Rouge, a regime allied that had been with China. EFE-EPA

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