|Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang announcing at the regular press conference.
Answering a query from reporters regarding the 2016 International Religious Freedom Annual Report of the US State Department, Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang stated that: “The consistent policy of the State of Vietnam is to respect and ensure the freedom of belief and religion, and following or not following any religions. This was enshrined in the Constitution and law of Vietnam and is ensured and respected in the reality. This has created a very diverse life of religion and belief in Vietnam."
She also added that: "Vietnam’s law bans any religious and belief discrimination. The State of Vietnam has been implementing many concrete policies and measures to ensure that people fully benefit from the rights to freedom of religion and belief, including the Law on Belief and Religion, which was approved by the National Assembly in November 2016 and will come into effect in January 2018.”
“We appreciated that the 2016 International Religious Freedom Annual Report of the US State Department had some adjustments following the reality in Vietnam. However, it is regretful that the report still gave some subjective assessments and cited wrong information about Vietnam,” the spokeswoman emphasized.
Regarding the Philippine consideration of oil and gas cooperation with China in the East Sea (South China Sea), Hang affirmed: "Vietnam has repeatedly made clear that Vietnam has sufficient legal basis and historical evidence to assert sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos. In that spirit, we request all parties respect the rights, sovereignty and legitimate interests of Vietnam in the East Sea as defined by international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, in the spirit of the DOC signed between ASEAN and China in 2002, contributing to the mutual goal of the region as maintaining peace, stability, security, safety, cooperation and development of the East Sea."
Answering a question about Vietnam's receiving Brahmos missiles from India, Hang said: "The Vietnam-India comprehensive strategic partnership has been developing in various fields such as economics, trade, investment, culture, education, security and defense. The security and defense cooperation of the two countries creates positive contribution to the peace, cooperation and development of the region as well as the world. It should be noted that we wish to maintain the national defense of peace policy. Vietnam’s purchasing defense equipment is in line with the defense policy of peace and self-defense and represents a normal activity to protect the country."By Linh Bui