outbrain
Close  

Hanoi slams ‘erroneous statements’ on China island flights

/ 01:21 AM January 14, 2016

HANOI—Vietnam accused China of making “erroneous statements” in the latest round of an escalating diplomatic spat over flights to a disputed reef in the South China Sea.

China has conducted several flights this year through Vietnamese airspace to a newly built runway on Kagitingan Reef (Fiery Cross Reef) in the Spratly archipelago, which is claimed by both countries as well as by the Philippines.

ADVERTISEMENT

Hanoi has accused Beijing of threatening regional safety with the “unannounced” flights, but China hit back, arguing it has the right to conduct “state aviation activities.”

‘No notification’

FEATURED STORIES

Hanoi fired off the latest barb late Tuesday in the increasingly bitter diplomatic spat, saying Beijing was making “erroneous statements” by claiming it had informed Vietnamese air traffic control about the flights.

“Ho Chi Minh … Control Center did not receive any notification by China of the flight plans,” foreign ministry spokesperson Le Hai Binh said in a statement released late Tuesday.

The flights are “aimed at asserting their illegal sovereignty claims over the Trong Sa archipelago,” he said, referring to the Spratlys by their Vietnamese name.

China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Hong Lei, told reporters on Monday that China’s three test flights to the artificial island on Kagitingan Reef were state aviation activities and had no restrictions under international law.

Vietnam informed?

Hong said China informed Vietnamese aviation authorities last Dec. 28 and foreign ministry two days later about them.

He said Vietnam had failed to see “the professional, technical and civil nature of China’s inspection and test flights.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Binh disputed Hong’s statements and said that at the meeting with the Chinese Embassy representative, Vietnam protested and demanded China cancel the flights.

Vietnam this year logged at least 46 incidents of Chinese planes flying without warning through airspace monitored by air traffic control in the southern metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, according to authorities cited by local media.

State media also reported that Vietnam sent a protest letter about the flights to Beijing, as well as the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization (Icao).

Beijing began work in 2014 on a 3,125-meter runway on Kagitingan Reef, around 1,000 kilometers from China’s island province of Hainan.

China’s claim to almost all of the South China Sea puts it at odds with regional neighbors the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan, which also stake partial claims. Reports from AFP and AP

Read Next
EDITORS' PICK
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: China, Features, Global Nation, sea dispute, West Philippine Sea
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2020 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.