China rejects Vietnam protest over sea flight test
Jan 3, Beijing: China rejected a protest from Vietnam over a flight test it has conducted on a new airstrip on a man-made island in the South China Sea, saying it is part of China's territory.
Vietnam has accused China of violating its sovereignty by landing a plane on an artificial island it has built in a contested part of the Sea.
The Vietnamese foreign ministry said the airfield was built illegally on a part of the Spratly archipelago that lies within its territory, news reports said.
However, China said it has complete sovereignty over Fiery Cross Reef and had used a civilian plane to test the airstrip.
Several nations dispute China's territorial claims in the area.
China claims almost the whole of the South China Sea, resulting in overlapping claims with several other Asian nations including Vietnam and the Philippines, BBC news reports said.
They accuse China of illegally reclaiming land in contested areas to create artificial islands with facilities that could potentially be for military use.
The Olso Times