HANOI, February 3 (Itar-Tass) – Vietnam resolutely denounced a visit by head of the Taiwan administration Chen Shui-bian to the disputable Spratly Archipelago in the South China Sea, says a statement by spokesman of the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Le Dzung, circulated here on Sunday.
The diplomat’s statement was Hanoi’s response to the landing on Saturday by a military transport plane S-130 Hercules (aboard which Chen turned to be) at Taiping, one of the largest islands of the archipelago, where Taiwan completed construction of a runway last month.
Several countries of the Asian region have been engaged for many years in an endless dispute on sovereignty over the Spratly and Paracel islands, on whose shelf can be considerable reserves of oil and minerals. Their claims to the territories are simultaneously voiced by Vietnam, Brunei, China, Malaysia, Taiwan and the Philippines.
Vietnam’s position on this question boils down to the following: Hanoi “has sufficient historic and legal grounds, substantiating its irrefutable sovereignty over these islands”.