Spokesperson Lê Thị Thu Hằng made the statement at the Foreign Ministry’s regular press briefing following a report released by Philippine scientists saying the concentration of iodine-129 was rising abnormally near entities illegally occupied by China in the East Sea.
Relevant Vietnamese agencies are verifying the news, Hằng said, adding the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) clearly states that coastal states are obliged to protect and preserve the marine environment, as well as to respect the sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction of coastal states identified in accordance with UNCLOS 1982.
She emphasized that the use, exploitation and transportation of vehicles, equipment and materials posing a risk of radiation unsafety and nuclear safety should comply with international law, rules and regulations on radiation safety and nuclear safety by the International Atomic Energy Agency and they do not affect the maintenance of peace and stability in the region.
An online search showed iodine-129 is a long-lived radioisotope of iodine which occurs naturally, but also is of special interest in the monitoring and effects of man-made nuclear fission decay products, where it serves as both tracer and potential radiological contaminant.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most iodine-129 in the environment comes from nuclear weapons testing.