Tue, Mar 14, 2017 - Page 5 News List

Hanoi demands China cruise ships stop

Reuters, HANOI

Vietnam yesterday demanded that China stop sending cruise ships to the South China Sea in response to one of Beijing’s latest steps to bolster its claims in the waterway.

A Chinese cruise ship with more than 300 passengers visited the disputed Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) earlier this month.

“Vietnam strongly opposes this and demands that China respect Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Paracel Islands and international law, and immediately stop and not repeat those activities,” foreign ministry spokesperson Le Hai Binh said. “Those actions have seriously violated Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Paracel Islands and international law.”

China claims 90 percent of the potentially energy-rich South China Sea.

Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam lay claim to parts of the sea, through which about US$5 trillion of trade passes each year.

Nations competing to cement their rival claims have encouraged a growing civilian presence on disputed islands in the South China Sea. The first cruises from China to the Paracel Islands were launched by Hainan Strait Shipping Co (海南海峽船運股份有限公司) in 2013.

The Paracel Islands are also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam.

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