Vietnamese authorities are calling for the China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) to stop a naval exercise off the coast of Hainan Island, near the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. The Vietnamese foreign ministry issued a statement demanding that the PLAN exercise be halted immediately. In Vietnam’s view, the area where the exercise is taking place violates the country’s sovereignty. Vietnam and China both claim sovereignty over the Paracel Islands.
On July 20, the PLAN announced that it would conducted a “10-day training in waters off (sic) eastern Hainan Islands.” In a statement posted on the Chinese military’s website, the PLA noted that the exercise would take place “in the relevant waters near eastern Hainan Island in the South China Sea from 8:00 of July 22 to 8:00 of July 31, 2015.” It added that “during the above-mentioned period of time, no vessel is allowed to enter the designated maritime areas.” The statement outlined a set of coordinates demarcating the area where the exercise would take place. The defense ministry described the exercise as routine, and as a “military exercise that does not target any other country.”