During a regular press conference on Thursday (Oct 12), Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Le Thu Hang said that Vietnam stands by its consistent viewpoint that all countries have the right to freedom of navigation in the territory in accordance with international law.
U.S Navy destroyer Chafee
With this claim, Vietnam has declared its support for freedom of navigation and peace and stability in the flashpoint East Sea, internationally known as the South China Sea, following a U.S. patrol designed to challenge China’s "excessive maritime claims" in the waters.
Hang also reaffirmed that Vietnam had enough historical evidence and legal foundations to assert its sovereignty over the islands. “Any activity carried out in the area without Vietnam’s permission is illegal and invalid,” she pressed. Vietnam continues to call on countries to contribute constructively and positively, on the basis of international laws, to maintaining peace, stability and law in the East Sea, Hang said. The spokesperson made the statement two days after a U.S. Navy destroyer sailed near the Paracels in a move that U.S. officials described as a challenge to “excessive maritime claims” by Beijing.
According to Reuters, The U.S. patrol was designed to challenge China's "excessive maritime claims" in the area. The Pentagon did not comment directly on the operation, but said the U.S. carried out regular freedom-of-navigation operations and would continue to do so, Reuters said.