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US Defence Secretary protests provocative acts in East Sea

US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper on August 26 warned that China’s plan to modernise military forces will embolden its provocative behaviours in the South China Sea, which is called the East Sea in Vietnam, and the East China Sea.

In a keynote speech at an event in Hawaii, Esper said China has fallen short of its promises to abide by international laws, rules or norms or honour the commitments it made to the international community, including not to militarise features in the East Sea.

China’s organisation of consecutive military exercises in the waters to the north-northeast of Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago has violated Vietnam’s sovereignty over the archipelago, said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang on August 26.

Responding to reporters’ query, the spokesperson made it clear that China’s act runs counter to the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and complicates the situation, which is unfavourable for the current negotiations between China and the ASEAN on a Code of Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (COC) and the maintenance of a peaceful, stable and cooperative environment in the East Sea.

“Vietnam demands that China respect Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Hoang Sa archipelago, stop and not repeat such violations,” Hang said./