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Vietnam's labeling of Taiwan's military drill 'unacceptable': MOFA

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Vietnam's labeling of Taiwan's military drill 'unacceptable': MOFA

Taipei, Dec. 3 (CNA) Taiwan on Friday rejected Vietnam's characterization of its recent live-fire drill around Taiping Island, or Itu Aba, as an "illegal" activity, saying its claim to the small island in the South China Sea was "unquestionable" and that it was part of the Republic of China's (ROC) territory.

Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said in a statement on Friday night that the comments made by its Vietnamese counterpart about the island's routine live-fire drill in waters around Taiping Island on Nov. 29 was "unacceptable."

Earlier the same day, Le Thi Thu Hang, spokeswoman for Vietnam's foreign ministry called Taiwan's military activity "a serious violation of Vietnam's territorial sovereignty," saying it had caused tensions and complicated the situation in the region.

Hang said Vietnam "resolutely opposes" Taiwan's "illegal activities" while calling on Taipei to not repeat similar violations.

Neither Taiwan nor Vietnam has revealed further details about the live-fire exercise, including the type of weapons used.

MOFA said in its statement it was "unquestionable that Taiping Island is part of the ROC territory" and that Taiwan's government had a right to exercise its sovereign powers on the island and its territorial waters.

Taiping Island, the largest of the naturally occurring Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, lies 1,600 kilometers southwest of Kaohsiung and is administered as part of the southern Taiwan municipality's Cijin District.

The island is also claimed by Vietnam, the People's Republic of China, and the Philippines.

Taiwan administers control over the island, which is manned by Taiwanese Coast Guard personnel trained by the nation's Marine Corps, with drills regularly held there.


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