|Foreign Ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang
The official said, “The report has recognized Vietnam’s progress and achievements in promoting religions and beliefs. Unfortunately, it has several unobjective assessments and cited wrongful information about the situation in Vietnam. The country pursues the unwavering policy of respecting and ensuring the right to freedom of religion and belief of all citizens. This has been written down in Vietnam's Constitution and legal system, and in fact, has been respected and is being enforced. Vietnam has continuously improved its legal system on religion and belief with thousands of rituals taking place every year.”
She highlighted that Vietnam has promulgated the Law on Religion and Belief and issued decrees guiding the enforcement of the law.
At the same time, citizens’ practices of religion and belief have been ensured, reflected through thousands of religious festivals and activities every year.
She noted that the country has hosted a wide range of major international religious events such as the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017 and the United Nations Day of Vesak for the third time this year.
At the press briefing, the spokeswoman expressed deep concern about Indonesia’s seizure and destruction of Vietnamese fishing boats. These were against the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and not compliant with bilateral relations.
Vietnam has repeatedly contacted Indonesia in various channels and asked the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries as well as related forces to act in line with international law, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and bilateral relations.
Vietnam asks Indonesia to offer humanly treatment to Vietnamese fishing boats and fishermen in line with bilateral ties and ASEAN spirit of unity, she said.
Concerning the entry of the two US naval vessels in the 12 nautical mile area around the Ga Ven and Gac Ma reefs of Vietnam’s Truong Sa archipelago, the spokesperson said, “Vietnam has full legal foundations and historical evidence testifying its sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes in line with international law.”
As a littoral nation in the East Sea and a member of the UNCLOS 1982, Vietnam holds that all countries are entitled to enjoy freedom of navigation and aviation, in accordance with the provisions of international law, especially the UNCLOS 1982, Hang said.
Vietnam calls on countries to continue making positive and practical contributions to maintaining regional peace and stability, as well as respecting and fulfill related international legal obligations and laws on sea areas and oceans, she added.