Vietnam protests against Taiwan live-fire drills near South China Sea island

Coast guard conducts maneuvers Nov. 21-23

Vietnam Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Tra.

Vietnam Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Tra. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Vietnam protested Thursday against live-fire drills by the Taiwanese Coast Guard near the disputed South China Sea island of Taiping, also known as Itu Aba.

In addition to Taiwan and Vietnam, several other countries, including China and the Philippines, also push claims of sovereignty over the mostly uninhabited islets and reefs dotted across the South China Sea.

Taiwan’s Coast Guard is conducting its final set of live-fire drills for the year, directed at potential threats from the waters around Taiping from November 21 to 23, the Central News Agency reported.

However, on Thursday, Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry said it absolutely opposed the maneuvers, adding they “seriously infringed Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Spratly Islands,” of which Taiping is the largest.

At a regular monthly news conference, ministry spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Tra reiterated claims that Vietnam had sufficient legal and historical evidence to prove it possessed sovereignty over the Spratly and the Paracel Islands.

She described the Taiwanese live-fire drills as a threat to regional peace, stability and security, and said Vietnam had repeatedly asked Taipei to stop the exercises, CNA reported.