Vietnam protests Taiwan military drills on Taiping Island in S. China Sea

The Foreign Ministry of Vietnam on Thursday protested Tawian's use of artillery on Taiping Island, claiming sovereignty over the territory

Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nguyen Phuong Tra

Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nguyen Phuong Tra (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Vietnamese Foreign Ministry has protested Taiwan’s placement and use of artillery on Taiping Island (太平島) in the South China Sea.

During a press conference on Aug. 23, Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nguyen Phuong Tra claimed that Taiwan’s firing of artillery emplacements on Taiping Island has infringed on Vietnam’s sovereignty and raised tensions in the South China Sea.

Taiwan’s Coast guard issued a quick statement in response, insisting that the use of artillery is part of a regular training exercise that takes place every year. Further, that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed neighboring countries of the training exercises before specifically to ensure the safety of ships in the area, and to avoid heightening tensions.

The Taiwanese Coast Guard conducted drills involving artillery from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 22, to maintain safety and territorial integrity of Taiping Island, reports China Times.

Taiping Island (also called Itu Aba) is the largest island of the Nansha Island chain (南沙群島), which is known as the Spratly chain by most countries in the region. Taiping Island is currently under the administrative control of the Qijin district government of Kaohsiung. Vietnam refers to the island as Ba Binh Island.

During the Thursday press conference, Nguyen asserted that Vietnam has territorial claims to the Nansha Islands, and asked Taiwan to immediately cease all provocations and to see that such actions do not happen again.

Various in the region are contested by the Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines as well as China.