South China Sea: Vietnam tells China to withdraw jet fighters — Jet deployment contradicts Xi Jinping’s vow not to militarize the South China Sea

By Truong Son, Thanh Nien News

HANOI – Friday, April 15, 2016 12:43

A Chinese J-11 fighter aircraft. Photo credit: US Department of Defense
A Chinese J-11 fighter aircraft. Photo credit: US Department of Defense
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China should immediately end its violations of Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago, withdraw its jet fighters from this area and not commit similar acts again, Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh said Thursday.
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He was responding to reporters’ questions at a press conference in Hanoi about Vietnam’s reaction to China’s deployment of 16 jet fighters in the Paracels.
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“Vietnam once again asserts its indisputable sovereignty over the Truong Sa and Hoang Sa archipelagos. China’s deployment of jet fighters in Vietnam’s Hoang Sa Archipelago seriously violates Vietnam’s sovereignty and directly threatens regional peace and stability.
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“As a permanent member of the United Nations with an important role in the region, China should act responsibly and constructively in the maintenance of peace and stability in the region in line with international law, particularly the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea.”
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The US military’s Stars and Stripes newspaper Wednesday reported that the Chinese deployed 16 Shenyang J-11 advanced fighter aircraft – “the largest number of fighter jets ever” – in the archipelago on April 7.
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Positioning military aircraft on the island seems to contradict Chinese President Xi Jinping’s vow not to militarize the South China Sea, a statement he made while visiting Washington, D.C. in February, the newspaper said.
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Xi Jinping and Barack Obama at the White House, Sept. 25, 2015. Xi told President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry that China would not militarize the South China Sea.
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China is “clearly militarizing the South China Sea … You’d have to believe in a flat Earth to think otherwise,” Admiral Harry Harris said in comments that coincided with a visit to Washington by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks during a media availability with Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department in Washington, Tuesday, February 26. AP/Susan Walsh

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