Expansion of reef area met with strong disapproval.
Satellite imagery provided by DigitalGlobe on April 14 shows that China is illegally expanding its presence on Quang Hoa Island and Phu Lam Island, both of which lie in Vietnam’s Paracel archipelago. Mr. Le Hai Binh, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that Vietnam is currently verifying the information. He also affirmed that Vietnam has sufficient legal basis and historical evidence to assert sovereignty over both the Paracel and Spratly archipelagoes.
Vietnam has already negotiated many times at senior levels with China over the issue. “Every act of construction or expansion by other countries on the islands and rocky areas in the Paracel and Spratly archipelagoes without permission from the Government of Vietnam is totally illegal and invalid,” Mr. Binh said. “Vietnam resolutely opposes the actions and we request the involved parties to seriously follow the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, to contribute to keeping peace and stability in the East Sea.
Earlier, Reuters News reported that the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) had announced that China has begun construction work at Vanh Khan Beach, deploying construction vehicles, conducting dredging activities, and building breakwaters.
A photo from CSIS dated March 16 also shows that a strip of artificial land has been created, with some constructions being built and many dredgers appearing on the scene. A photo dated February 1 also shows a Chinese amphibious navy transport vessel just a few hundreds meters away from the entrance to Vanh Khan Reef.