Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang said Hanoi is concerned and keeping watch on Beijing’s reported missile launch in the South China Sea, part of which is the West Philippine Sea./ Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs
MANILA, Philippines — While the Department of Foreign Affairs is waiting for official military confirmation of China’s reported missile launch in the South China Sea, Vietnam’s foreign ministry had expressed concern over the matter.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang said Hanoi was “deeply concerned” about Beijing’s recent actions in the disputed waterway, according to a report from Ho Chi Minh-based newspaper Tuoi Tre News.
“Vietnam suggests that all activities in the East Sea (South China Sea) should respect sovereignty and legitimate and legal interests of countries and observe international law, especially 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, contributing to regional peace, security, stability and cooperation,” Hang said.
The US Department of Defense earlier said China launched anti-ship ballistic missiles from man-made islands in the Spratly Islands, which is also being claimed by the Philippines.
According to a report from Reuters, Beijing launched the missiles over the weekend. China, the Philippines and Vietnam have overlapping claims over the South China Sea.
“What’s truly disturbing about this act is that it’s in direct contradiction to President Xi’s statement in the Rose Garden in 2015 when he pledged to the US, the Asia-Pacific region, and the world, that he would not militarize those man-made outposts,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Dave Eastburn said.
The Philippines’ top diplomat, meanwhile, said the DFA would rely on the report of the Armed Forces of the Philippines before making a move.
In a tweet posted Thursday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said they “despise civilian sources.”
“(W)e work hand in glove with the armed forces because war is conduct of diplomacy by other means as diplomacy can be the conduct of war with a measure of finesse,” Locsin said.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the military has yet to investigate the report as they do not have first-hand knowledge on the matter.