Vietnam asks Beijing to withdraw its missiles from the Spratly Islands

  • Vietnam has asked China to withdraw military equipment from the East Sea, following media reports this month that China had installed missiles there.
  • China installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on three of its outposts in the East Sea, according to sources with direct knowledge of U.S. intelligence reports.
  • China claims 90 percent of the potentially energy-rich maritime territory. Other Asian countries including the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have claims to parts of the waterway.

According to Reuters’ report, Vietnam has asked China to withdraw military equipment from the East Sea, following media reports this month that China had installed missiles there.

“Vietnam requests that China, as a large country, shows its responsibility in maintaining peace and stability in the East Sea,” Vietnamese foreign ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said in a Tuesday statement, referring to the East Sea.

U.S. news network CNBC reported this month that China had installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on three of its outposts in the East Sea, citing sources with direct knowledge of U.S. intelligence reports.

Vietnam and China have over-lapping claims in parts of the East Sea.

“Vietnam is extremely concerned about the information (as reported) and reaffirms that all militarization activities, including the installation of missiles on the Spratly islands, is a serious violation of Vietnam’s sovereignty,” Hang said in the statement posted on the ministry’s website on Tuesday.

The installations, if confirmed, would mark the first Chinese missile deployments in the East Sea.

China claims 90 percent of the potentially energy-rich maritime territory. Other Asian countries including the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have claims to parts of the waterway.

China’s deployment of defense equipment and troops on the Spratly Islands, its sovereign territory, was its indubitable right, China’s defense ministry said in a statement sent to Reuters on Wednesday.

The equipment helped protect the peace and stability of the region and “does not target any country”, the ministry said, without giving details of what deployments had been made.

By Khanh Vu and Christian Shepherd, Reuters