15:54 01/08/2016
China’s recent flights to a reef in Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago have imperiled aviation safety in the region, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV).

The CAAV told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Thursday that Vietnam’s air traffic control agencies have not received any notice from China about its flights to Da Chu Thap (Fiery Cross Reef) in Truong Sa, which belongs to the Southeast Asian country, since December 28, 2015.

The operations of these Chinese aircraft have violated International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regulations, posing serious threats to air safety in the region, the authority added.

China landed two more civilian airplanes on Wednesday on an airfield it had illegally built on Vietnam’s Da Chu Thap, four days after its first test flight to the same place, according to Vietnamese authorities.

Vietnam has objected to China’s activities and demanded that the country immediately end similar moves and have no further infringement of Vietnamese sovereignty in Truong Sa, located in the East Vietnam Sea.

"This is a serious violation of Vietnam's sovereignty, threatening peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Vietnam Sea," Vietnamese foreign ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh said on Thursday.

The runway on Da Chu Thap is one of three China has been unlawfully building for more than a year by dredging sand up onto reefs and atolls in Truong Sa, according to Reuters.

These activities mark the beginning of China’s new phase, which prepares for the arrival of fighter jets to carry out Beijing’s plan to establish an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the East Vietnam Sea, Tran Cong Truc, former head of the Vietnamese government’s border board, told Tuoi Tre.

They would compromise security on Vietnamese islands and endanger Vietnam’s territorial sovereignty, the official said.

Several unidentified airplanes have recently operated in Vietnam’s air space without noticing competent authorities, imperiling flight safety in the region, the CAAV said.

The airplanes have operated in the Ho Chi Minh Flight Information Region (FIR) without providing any flight plan for, or maintaining any radio contact with, air traffic controllers in accordance with international regulations on flight safety, the CAAV reported in a document submitted to the ICAO on Wednesday.

The Vietnamese air traffic control agency in the southern city spotted multiple planes with unidentified operations in the Ho Chi Minh FIR between January 1 and 6, which interfered with the ATS routes L625, N892 (flight levels from FL135 to FL460, and M771 (flight levels from FL250 to FL460), from the reporting point DONA to ALDAS, Lai Xuan Thanh, chief of the CAAV, told Tuoi Tre on Thursday.

The ICAO requires airplanes to report their positions when they fly to such points.

Records stored in the radar of the Ho Chi Minh Area Control Center showed that the said planes had not informed the Vietnamese side and had not contacted the center during their flight.

Those aircraft were traveling on a straight route in international airspace, from the north, where China lies, to Vietnam’s Da Chu Thap, according to an official from the CAAV.

Source: Tuoi Tre English


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