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Vietnam is not stepping up island reclamation activities in flashpoint waters: official

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 10:13:53 AM GMT + 7    Print   Email   Share:

Dredgers deposit sand on the northern rim of the Mischief Reef, located 216 km (135 miles) west of the Philippine island of Palawan, in this Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative satellite image taken on February 1, 2015 and released to Reuters on April 9, 2015. Photo by Reuters/CSIS's Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/Digital Globe/Handout
 
It's business as usual out in the East Sea, internationally known as South China Sea, as far as Vietnam is concerned.
 
Vietnam’s Ambassador to China Dang Minh Khoi has confirmed the country has not increased or reduced activities on its islands and reefs in the East Sea, saying operations in its waters were normal.
 
Khoi made the statement in response to a question by the Hong Kong-based Phoenix Television on January 18 in which he was asked about information that Vietnam is stepping up land reclamation activities on some islands and reefs in the East Sea, internationally referred to as the South China Sea, the Vietnam News Agency reported on Saturday.
 
“The activities are the same as before,” the ambassador said, adding that there had been no concerns raised by other countries regarding Vietnam's activities that would cause any signs of instability in the region.
 
He said Vietnam, on the basis of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), is willing to push for a Code of Conduct (COC) in the waters.
 
China claims almost the entire East Sea, through which about $5 trillion worth of goods passes every year. An international arbitration ruling invalidated those claims last year.
 
China appears to have installed weapons, including anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems, on all seven of the artificial islands it has built in the East Sea, a U.S. think tank has reported, citing new satellite imagery, according to a Reuters report.
 
China's artificial islands became a hot issue earlier this month when the U.S. nominee for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, told a Senate hearing that Beijing should be repelled from and then denied access to the controversial islets.
  • By : VNA/VOV

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