HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam has strongly protested China's launch of weather stations in the disputed Spratly islands, saying they seriously violate Vietnam's sovereignty and complicate the situation in the South China Sea.
China last week announced it started operations of the stations on three islands to offer weather forecasts to fishermen.
Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang told reporters at a regular briefing Thursday that Vietnam has legal basis and historical evidence to assert its sovereignty over the Spratlys and Paracels and asked China to stop the action.
Vietnam and China along with five others claim all or parts of the Spratlys. Tensions have flared after China turned seven disputed reefs into islands, which it later equipped with missile defense systems.