VIETNAM and the Philippines on Thursday condemned Chinese military exercises in the disputed South China Sea, where several countries have competing territorial claims.
The naval exercises were being held near the Paracel Islands, claimed by both China and Vietnam.
Chinese state media said the activities began on Wednesday and were showcasing China’s ability to storm and seize islands.
According to the spokeswoman for Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Le Hang, China performing military exercises at the Paracel Islands violated Vietnam’s sovereignty.
Hang said the exercise would also complicate negotiations for a Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea between China and regional grouping ASEAN, as well as the peace of the Islands.
The Philippino Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, told an online forum with the National Defence College that the news of the exercises was very worrisome and highly provocative.
Earlier, the Maritime Safety Administration of China’s Hainan province announced the naval exercises, prohibiting ship traffic in the area.
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, a key shipping lane believed to be rich in marine and mineral resources.
It has built artificial islands with military-capable facilities over disputed reefs and outcrops in the area.
On Wednesday, China agreed to resume talks with ASEAN on negotiating a code of conduct for the sea.
Aside from the Philippines, Vietnam, and China, other countries with territorial claims to the sea are Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan. (dpa/NAN)
– Jul. 2, 2020 @ 17:35 GMT |