Vietnam Agency Seeks Airport in Disputed Spratlys: Thanh Nien

Vietnam’s Civil Aviation Authority is proposing the construction of an airport in the disputed Spratly Islands, Thanh Nien newspaper reported.

The aviation agency seeks to include a Spratlys airport in the transport ministry’s 2021-2030 master plan, Thanh Nien reported, citing the proposal sent to the ministry. The aviation agency’s May 10 proposal also includes airports on non-disputed islands of Ly Son in Quang Ngai province and Phu Quy in Binh Thuan province, the newspaper said.

The airports would create economic growth for the country’s geographically important islands and assert Vietnam’s sovereignty over the regions, the agency said, according to Thanh Nien.

The Spratly Islands are part of a disputed region in the South China Sea.

China claims more than 80% of the sea and backs up its claim with a 1947 map that shows vague dashes -- the so-called nine-dash line --- looping down to a point about 1,100 miles (1,800 kilometers) south of its Hainan island. Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan claim parts of the same maritime area, and have sparred with China over which claims are valid.

The authority’s report came after officials in the central coastal province of Quang Ngai proposed building an airport on Ly Son, which is close to the Paracel and Spratly islands, Thanh Nien said.

The Quang Ngai proposal, however, has been criticized as unneeded because the province already has Chu Lai Airport, not far from Ly Son, Thanh Nien reported.

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