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Remarks by MOFA's Spokeperson Le Hai Binh during the 9th Regular Press Conference in August 4th 2016

Q: Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan recently called upon Chinese armed forces and people to stand ready for a war in the sea. Do you have any comment on this?

A: Peace, stability in the East Sea are the wish and interest of countries in and outside the region. Disputes in the East Sea must be resolved peacefully, in accordance with international law, without resorting to the use or threat of force.

Speech and deed by officials should stay in line with their country statements and obligations, that is to respect international law, refrain from use or threat of force, and contribute positively to peace, stability in the region and the world.

Q: Taiwan-China media reported that Legislator Su Chih Fen had her passport held at Hanoi Airport August 1st. Also while visiting Ha Tinh, she was constantly followed and watched by undercover security police. Please confirm and elaborate on the reason why that happened?

A: We will transfer your question to relevant authorities. The initial information we have had is that Ms. Fen’s purpose of entry did not correspond to the purpose she stated when applying for visa.

Q: When will Viet Nam release the official statement on the PCA ruling?

A: Viet Nam’s competent agencies have been seriously and thoroughly studying the contents of the ruling.

Q: Chinese People’s Supreme Court on August 2nd issued a regulation to apply penal measures to all subjects, including foreign nationals, if caught illegally fishing in Chinese waters. How do you comment on this?

A: We are verifying the information and details of this issue. We hold that the treatment of fishermen operating in the East Sea must first of all be in line with international law and regional agreements as well as the spirit of humanity. We reserve the rights to use necessary measures to protect legal rights and interests of Vietnamese fishermen, in accordance with international law and practices.

Q: China has recently published a website specialized on the South China Sea, in which Viet Nam’s Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos are turned into Xisha and Nansa islands respectively. What’s your comment on this?

A: This action by the Chinese side could not change the fact that Viet Nam has indisputable sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos.

Q: In a press release on AMM49, regarding the PCA ruling, the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry said Viet Nam “attaches importance to negotiations and talks” and “in a new stage of development so as to stabilize the situation, to settle peacefully disputes in accordance with international law”.  What does it mean by saying “attach importance to negotiations and talks” and “new stage of development”?

A: It should be reaffirmed that the consistent policy of Viet Nam is to settle disputes in the East Sea by peaceful means in accordance with international law, including the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which includes diplomatic and legal processes.

One of the peaceful means of settlement is negotiation and talks, in which bilateral negotiations will be applied to issues concerning two countries. Those involving multi countries and parties will be dealt with the participation of concerning parties.

Q: The media recently expressed concerns that with China opening a consular in Da Nang, some security issues might emerge to Da Nang. Could you provide the reason why China opens consulate there and what state they are now in the process?

A: By opening a consulate in Da Nang, China wants to promote economic and trade cooperation between Chinese provinces and Da Nang city as well as other central Vietnamese localities, and to timely coordinate with Vietnamese functioning bodies in consular affairs. Other countries have also opened consulates in Da Nang.

Q: Statistic from Cambodia’s Interior Ministry shows that more than 5,000 foreign nationals, mostly Vietnamese, have been deported from Cambodia since 2015? What is Viet Nam’s reaction to this figure? Do you have your own statistics? Do you have any comment as to what reason for deportation?

A: We will check the information and get it back to you as soon as possible. We want to inform that Vietnamese agencies have worked closely with their Cambodian counterparts to resolve the issues relating Vietnamese living in Cambodia.

We also urge the Cambodian relevant authorities and localities to pay due attention to the Vietnamese community living in Cambodia and to ensure their legitimate rights and interests as well as to facilitate them to have stable life and businesses.

Q: Indonesia just announced they would sink foreign boats illegally fishing in its waters, including, as some reports said, Vietnamese boats. Does Viet Nam have any talks with the Indonesian side to verify if there is any Vietnamese boat?

A: We are very much interested in the information you just provided. Viet Nam’s Embassy in Indonesia is working with the latter’s agencies to verify the information so as to have corresponding measures.

Regarding the Vietnamese fishing boats and fishermen held by the Indonesian side, we have through different channels urged Indonesia to handle Vietnamese violating cases with humanity.

Q: China is reportedly constructing a cemetery and a memorial dedicated to Chinese soldiers on Quang Hoa (Duncan) Island, Hoang Sa Archipelago of Viet Nam. What is your comment?

A: Viet Nam has sufficient legal and historical evidences to affirm its sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago. Any activity conducted by other parties for any purpose in Hoang Sa is illegal and does not change Viet Nam’s sovereignty over the archipelago.

Q: Do you have any comment on the recent attacks by hackers allegedly from China at information networks and websites of some Vietnamese airlines and of Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat airports, which contained message about the territorial disputes in Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos. What do you do to solve the consequences?

A: First of all, acts of hacking and cyber attack must be condemned and seriously punished.

As you may be aware, Vietnamese competent agencies have speedily taken necessary measures to protect network security and to ensure safety and normal operation at our airports. At the same time, investigations by Vietnamese cyber security forces on the attacks have been underway. The Vietnamese functioning bodies, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, are willing and ready to work closely with the international community to prevent and fight against any forms of hacking and cyber attacks, including the recent incident.

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