Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang (Photo: IC)
Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday that the country has sovereignty over Nansha Islands and its surrounding waters and enjoys sovereign rights and jurisdiction over relevant waters, and that Chinese vessels operate in waters under Chinese jurisdiction.
Geng Shuang, spokesperson of Chinese Foreign Ministry, made the remarks at a regular media conference on Monday, in response to reports that the Chinese survey ship Haiyang Dizhi-8 (Ocean Geology No.8) and coast guard vessels escorting it returned to the so-called "exclusive economic zone" of Vietnam.
In a Reuters' report, Vietnam's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang said in a statement that Vietnam demanded that China withdraw the vessel group.
Geng reaffirmed China's sovereignty over the relevant waters at the media conference and said that China hopes "relevant countries respect China's sovereignty and jurisdiction, and work with China to safeguard the peace and tranquility of relevant waters."
He added that when the vessels carry out work, they only make adjustments to their plans based on the marine conditions and actual demand.
China unveiled Haiyang Dizhi-8 in February 2017. The marine geological survey vessel uses world-leading techniques to create high-resolution three-dimensional images of the seabed's geological structure, Xinhua reported.
The ship has a gross tonnage of 6,786 tons and is able to reach a speed of 15 knots, media reported.