Vietnam demands China stop cruises in South China Sea

Vietnam on Monday demanded that China stop sending cruise ships to the South China Sea in a response to one of Beijing’s latest steps to bolster its claims in the strategic waterway.

A Chinese cruise ship with more than 300 passengers visited the disputed Paracel Islands earlier this month.

“Vietnam strongly opposes this and demands that China respect Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Paracel Islands and international law and immediately stop and not repeat those activities,” foreign ministry spokesperson Le Hai Binh told Reuters.

“Those actions have seriously violated Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Paracel Islands and international law.”

China claims 90 percent of the potentially energy-rich South China Sea. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan lay claim to parts of the sea, through which passes about $5 trillion of trade a year.

On Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswomen Hua Chunying told a regular news briefing that she had not seen the comments by Vietnam, but reiterated China’s claim to the Paracel Islands.

Countries competing to cement their rival claims have encouraged a growing civilian presence on disputed islands in the South China Sea. The first cruises from China to the Paracel islands were launched by Hainan Strait Shipping Co in 2013.

Since 2013, two leisure cruise liners based out of what China calls Sansha city have made 120 trips around the Paracels, city mayor Xiao Jie said last Tuesday, on the sidelines of China’s annual meeting of parliament in Beijing.

In 2012, China set up Sansha, based on Woody Island in the Paracels, to administer its islands in the South China Sea, but its permanent population is no more than a few thousand and many surrounding disputed islets and reefs are uninhabited.

“The last three years have shown that Paracel Island cruises are a very suitable type of tourism for Sansha, so Sansha in the future will press on with this type (of tourism), and will proactively expand trip routes,” Xiao said.

The Paracels are also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.

(Reporting by My Pham; Additional reporting by Christian Shepherd in BEIJING; Editing by Michael Perry and Clarence Fernandez)

Source: Reuters “Vietnam demands China stop cruises in South China Sea”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


4 Comments on “Vietnam demands China stop cruises in South China Sea”

  1. Allen Lau says:

    Vietnam has started conducting cruises to its Spratly islands around the start of the SCS island dispute. Every claimant country (Malaysia, Vietnam, China and Philippines) either has tourism cruises already or is planning to have them. Cruises are a means to maintain presence but are completely useless from claims perspective. China has conducted cruises to the SCS for years, but it is not the first to do so.

    I would categorize this Reuter’s article (even if true) as “non-news” which is a step below fake news.


  2. Joseph says:

    And with strong bilateral ties with China, why would Vietnam needs Reuters to convey minor foreign ministry spokesman? Apart from the two sentences alleged comment, the rest of the article is cooked up rather unprofessionaly and repetitively by Reuters. So is this fake news or ‘alternative fact’ by Reuters? No wonder Chinese foreign ministry never heard this comment. Why does the Reuters not convey the message of Vietnam foreign ministry janitors as well? Obviously Vietnam’s prominent foreign ministry officials don’t bother to meet Reuters.


  3. Simon says:

    If Vietnam feel so strongly why not dare come and fight for the Paracel? Even if you disregard historical claims or that the Paracel lies within China’s EEZ the fact remains Vietnamese navy was defeated by Chinese navy and driven out of the Paracels.


  4. johnleecan says:

    Vietnamese think that by stealing China’s territory and occupying it for many years can make them owners. Stealing territories from China is a traitorous and criminal act that violates international law.

    Vietnamese demandings are so pitiful. Do you Vietnamese like a rusted and dull knife to do the honors to end your pathetic life?