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Monday, December 11, 2017, 18:07 (GMT+7)
Vietnam’s position on settlement of disputes in the East Sea

Over the past years, sovereignty disputes in the East Sea tend to be on the increase with complicated developments which potentially destabilize the region and the world. Thus, the East Sea always draws attention from regional countries, major powers and the international community. However, settlement of disputes in the East Sea is an enduring, difficult, complicated process as it relates to various countries and parties. As regards Vietnam, settlement of this issue is placed in the national strategy for socioeconomic development and the Party and State’s diplomatic policy of peace, independence, self-reliance, multilateralization and diversification of relations.

Vietnam consistently advocates the settlement of disputes in the East Sea by peaceful means, in the spirit of mutual understanding and respect, in conformity with international law, particularly the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS). Accordingly, the issues related to Vietnam and another country only shall be resolved bilaterally. The others related to various countries and parties as well as freedom and safety of navigation shall be discussed by all the parties. In case those could not be solved by negotiation, there should be other means, such as mediation or mechanisms of international jurisdiction. While awaiting a basic, durable solution to the issue of the East Sea, related parties should strictly implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (the East Sea) (DOC), maintain the status quo, not complicate the situation, not use force or threaten to use force so as to preserve peace and stability.

Concerning the maintenance of peace, stability, security and safety of navigation and aviation in the East Sea, Vietnam welcomes and highly appreciates constructive contributions of the international community to this matter. It advocates related  parties’ settlement of disputes by peaceful means on the basis of international law and norms, including the UNCLOS 1982, respect for coastal nations’ rights over their exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in accordance with international law, and full implementation of the DOC, while encouraging parties building the Code of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (the East Sea) (COC).

Vietnam does not reject China’s concept of “setting aside disputes, pursuing joint development”. However, it does not accept China’s 'nine-dash line' claim which causes overlapping areas over Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. Vietnam affirms that it will continue to protect the economic benefits in its exclusive economic zone, including the operations of oil and gas companies, while welcoming and pledging to facilitate experienced foreign companies’ exploration and exploitation of oil and gas within its continental shelf.

As an active and responsible member of ASEAN and the international community, Vietnam has spared no effort to accelerate negotiation and construction of the COC with other ASEAN member states and China, contributing to maintaining peace, stability and cooperation for development in the East Sea and all over the world.

Pham Binh

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