Vietnam welcomes South China Sea ruling, reasserts its own claims

A Chinese coast guard vessel using water cannons on a Vietnamese vessel near the Paracel islands in 2014.
A Chinese coast guard vessel using water cannons on a Vietnamese vessel near the Paracel islands in 2014.PHOTO: EPA

HANOI (REUTERS) - Vietnam welcomed a ruling by an international arbitration court concerning the South China Sea on Tuesday (July 12), saying it strongly supports peaceful resolution of disputes, while reasserting its own sovereignty claims.

"Vietnam welcomes the arbitration court issuing its final ruling," foreign ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh said in a statement.

"Vietnam strongly supports the resolution of the disputes in the South China Sea by peaceful means, including diplomatic and legal processes and and refraining from the use or threats to use force, in accordance with international law."

 

The ministry said it would issue a more detailed comment on the content of the ruling at a later time and reasserted Vietnam's claim of sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly island, and its jurisdiction over its Exclusive Economic Zone.

A five-member arbitral tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague said there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within much of the South China Sea.

China, which boycotted the hearings at the court, vowed again to ignore the ruling and said its armed forces would defend its sovereignty and maritime interests.

China claims most of the energy-rich waters through which about US$5 trillion (S$6.7 trillion) in ship-borne trade passes every year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.