Vietnam incorporates 2 disputed S. China Sea island groups in law.
Vietnam's legislature on Thursday enacted by overwhelming majority an ocean law that declared two disputed island chains in the South China Sea as Vietnamese territory.
China, which also claims the two island chains, immediately condemned the Vietnamese move as "illegal and void."
The newly adopted Vietnamese ocean law incorporates management and development of Vietnam's territorial waters territorial waters: see waters, territorial.
Waters under the sovereign jurisdiction of a nation or state, including both marginal sea and inland waters. and exclusive economic zones and lists the Paracel islands Paracel Islands (päräsĕl`), Chin. Xisha, group of low coral islands and reefs in the South China Sea, c.175 mi (280 km) SE of Hainan island. They are rich in guano and are underlain by oil deposits. and the Spratly islands Spratly Islands, group of about 100 low islands and coral reefs in the central South China Sea, intersecting busy shipping lanes. The whole group is claimed by China, Taiwan, and Vietnam, and parts are claimed by Malaysia and the Philippines. as Vietnamese territory.
The Paracel islands, known as the Hoang Sa Islands in Vietnamese and as the Xisha Islands in Chinese, are located roughly midway from the coastlines of Vietnam and China. They are claimed by Vietnam, China and Taiwan.
The Spratlys, known as the Truong Sa Islands in Vietnamese and as the Nansha Islands, are located southeast of the Paracels and are claimed in whole or in part by China, Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.
"The two island groups are Chinese territory. Any action or claim of sovereignty by a third country is illegal and void," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.