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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        20  May 2011

Vietnam asserts islands sovereignty

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Vietnam has affirmed its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos and protested against China's recent actions concerning the two island groups.

"The Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos are inseparable parts of Vietnam's territory," the Vietnam Foreign Ministry representative told the Chinese Embassy's representative in Hanoi.

The State Oceanic Administration of China recently released the "2011 China Ocean Development Report", in which it claimed China's sovereignty over the East Sea and the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos. The report included maps of China's "U-shaped line" claim on the East Sea, unveiled its plan to explore for oil and gas in the Truong Sa archipelago and launch of tours to the Hoang Sa archipelago.

Additionally, on May 16, China's state-run news agency Xinhua reported that China Mobile announced expanded mobile services coverage to include the Truong Sa archipelago.

During a meeting with the Chinese Embassy's representative, the Vietnamese side stressed that China's acts violated Vietnam's sovereignty over the two archipelagos and Vietnam's rights of sovereignty and jurisdiction over the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf according to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

"All acts of other countries including release of reports, issuance of legal documents relating to the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos as well as the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of Viet Nam without the nation's permission have no legal value," the Vietnamese representative said.

Vietnam requested that China respect Vietnam's sovereignty over the two archipelagos, attach importance to relations between the two countries, build trust and not undertake any actions to further complicate the situation in the East Sea.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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