China says Vietnam claims to disputed islets 'ridiculous'

BEIJING Mon May 26, 2014 6:55am EDT

Vietnam's spokesman Le Hai Binh (C) speaks at a news conference on the deployment of a Chinese oil rig in a part of the disputed South China Sea, in Hanoi May 7, 2014. REUTERS/Nguyen Phuong Linh

Vietnam's spokesman Le Hai Binh (C) speaks at a news conference on the deployment of a Chinese oil rig in a part of the disputed South China Sea, in Hanoi May 7, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Nguyen Phuong Linh

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China described Vietnam's claim to disputed South China Sea islands as "ridiculous" on Monday, as tension rises over competing claims of sovereignty in waters believed to be rich in oil and natural gas.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, rejecting rival claims to parts of it from Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei in one of Asia's most intractable disputes and a possible flashpoint. It also has a separate maritime dispute with Japan over islands in the East Sea.

The row with Vietnam intensified this month after China dispatched an oil rig to an area near the disputed Paracel islands.

Vietnam's Foreign Ministry held a press conference on Friday when officials stressed the country's historical claim to the Paracels.

"Historical and legal evidence shows that Vietnam has absolute sovereignty in the Paracel and Spratly archipelagos," said Tran Duy Hai, deputy head of Vietnam's National Border Committee.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang disagreed.

"Seeing that the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry held a press conference last Friday on the subject, I felt it was extremely ridiculous," he said at a briefing on Monday. "The Paracels are the indisputable territory of the Chinese people."

Qin said the Paracels had been part of Chinese territory since the Han dynasty, and that Chinese explorers had first discovered the islands.

(Reporting By Megha Rajagopalan, additional reporting by Nguyen Phuong Linh in HANOI; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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Comments (5)
Jerry2014 wrote:
Simply show us a single ancient Chinese map that included The Paracels to prove your point, Mr. China! If you can’t do that (and Vietnam can), then The Paracels ain’t yours.
What’s “ridiculous” here is your way of thinking. Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas so perhaps Italy should follow your footstep to claim all of The Americas (since Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer)? LOL

May 26, 2014 8:19am EDT  --  Report as abuse
wpgger wrote:
Wiki has the facts:
1887 – Convention Respecting the Delimitation of the Frontier Between China and Tonkin between France and the Qing Empire set the maritime boundary in the Gulf of Tonkin [36][37][38] The 1887 Chinese-Vietnamese Boundary convention signed between France and China after the Sino-French War said that China was the owner of the Spratly and Paracel islands.[39]
1946 – The Paracels and Spratlys were handed over to Republic of China control from Japan after the 1945 surrender of Japan,[42] since the Allied powers assigned the Republic of China to receive Japanese surrenders in that area.[43]
1956 – North Vietnam declares Paracel and Spratly Islands are historically Chinese territory.[30]
September 14, 1958 – North Vietnamese Premier Pham Van Dong sent Premier Zhou Enlai a formal diplomatic correspondence about the issue.[53] North Vietnam recognized China’s claims on the Paracels and Spratlys during the Vietnam War as it was being supported by China. Only after winning the war and conquering South Vietnam did North Vietnam retract its recognition and admitted it recognized them as part of China in order to receive aid from China in fighting the Americans. [54]

I am for China on this one.

May 27, 2014 3:46am EDT  --  Report as abuse
StigTW wrote:
Jerry2014 google is your friend here. it’s really easy to find the maps you’re looking for start with

May 27, 2014 6:46am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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