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    Two excavators are pictured at a construction site on Taiping island in the Spratly chain in the South China Sea on March 23, 2016

    China Calls on Vietnam to Drop Occupation of Disputed Islands

    © AFP 2019 / SAM YEH
    Asia & Pacific
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    China strongly urged Vietnam to respect China's sovereignty and interest, and withdraw its personnel and facilities from disputed Spratly archipelago, according to Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – China urged Vietnam on Friday to stop the building activities on the disputed Spratly archipelago in the South China Sea, the country's foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, said.

    "China is firmly opposed to the relevant country's illegal occupation of South China Sea reefs, and construction on China's territory … We strongly urge the relevant country to respect China's sovereignty and interest, and withdraw its personnel and facilities, " Geng told reporters as quoted by the Xinhua news agency.

    The spokesman made the comments in the wake of Tuesday's report by a US monitor saying that Vietnam was extending its runway on one of the South China Sea islands.

    The report said that Hanoi started lengthening its sole runway on the archipelago following Beijing’s military buildup in the disputed area.

    Vietnam and China are engaged in a territorial dispute in South China Sea. Their relations became strained in 2014 after Beijing deployed the Haiyang Shiyou 981 drilling rig in the area contested by Hanoi, triggering a wave of anti-Chinese protests in Vietnam.

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    Chinese Foreign Ministry, Geng Shuang, Spartly Islands, Vietnam, China
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