However, the tension in the South China Sea remains palpable as China has reportedly started fresh military drills near Vietnam's Hoang Sa
(Paracel) Islands, to which Vietnam has voiced protests.
The Paracel (Hoang Sa
) and Spratly (Truong Sa) island groups have belonged to Vietnam for hundreds of years, says Mai, until China's invasion and capture of the Paracels in 1974 and its ongoing occupation of the Spratlys.
At that time, there were already competing and historic claims for the Paracels, which is called Xisha in Chinese and Hoang Sa
'Vietnam demands that China stop these activities, cease militarization of the area, and strictly respect Vietnam's sovereignty over the Hoang Sa
(Paracel) islands,' Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang said in a statement.
It rightly predicted retaliation against the ruling from China, which shortly followed when the latter landed civilian aircraft on airstrips on two contested reefs, Subi and Mischief, (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/helen-clark1/vietnam-south-china-sea-ruling_b_11022864.html) Huffington Post reported. The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Le Hai Binh said of the incident: "Those actions conducted by China have seriously violated Vietnam's sovereignty and are unlawful and cannot change the fact[s] about Vietnam's sovereignty over the Hoang Sa
and Truong Sa [known as Spratly and Paracel in China] archipelagoes."
In a note verbale to the United Nations dated 22 February 2016, Vietnam stated that it "has ample legal basis and historical evidence to affirm its indisputable sovereignty over Hoang Sa
[Paracel] Archipelago and Truong Sa [Spratly] Archipelago.
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.
According to the bureau statement, the fishermen s two boats were loaded with 25 kilograms of explosives and other tools for dynamite fishing when they were found near the Paracel Islands -- Hoang Sa
in Vietnamese and Xisha in Chinese -- on March 4.
Conversion contractor Keppel Shipyard is no stranger to Vietnam's oil and gas scene having built structures including the 1200-tonne floating crane Hoang Sa
, which was followed by the nation's first jack-up rig.
One such commemorative venture of the state, which aims to preserve the primacy of those who died serving the country, is devoted to glorifying the Hoang Sa
(Paracel) flotilla and preserving all temples and relics related to its activities on the offshore island of Ly Son.