For territorial integrity, Viet Nam never makes concessions, PM affirms
11:23 | 21/10/2019
VGP – For independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, “we have never made concessions”, affirmed Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in his report delivered on Monday morning at the opening ceremony of the 14th Legislature’s 8th Working Session.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc delivers speech at the opening ceremony of the 8th Working Session of the 14th National Assembly in Ha Noi on October 21, 2019. Photo: VGP

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The Government chief reiterated the above consistent policy of the Party and State of Viet Nam amid recent complicated developments in the East Sea, including activities seriously infringing upon Viet Nam’s waters.

At the same time, Viet Nam has been keen on ensuring a peaceful and stable environment for national development course, PM Phuc emphasized.

He affirmed that Viet Nam will continue a string of consistent and resolute measures in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to protect national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The righteous policy, position and efforts of our Party and State have been widely supported by Vietnamese people and the international community, Phuc stated.

International community’s responses

The international community has raised concerns over recent developments in the East Sea. The following are some of them.

In their Joint Communiqué issued on occasion of the 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministerial Meeting in Thailand last July, ASEAN Foreign Ministers reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation in and overflight above the East Sea and recognized the benefits of having the East Sea as a sea of peace, stability and prosperity.

The Foreign Ministers underscored the importance of the full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) in its entirety.

They emphasized the importance of non-militarization and self-restraint in the conduct of all activities by claimants and all other states, including those mentioned in the DOC that could further complicate the situation and escalate tensions in the East Sea.

The Foreign Ministers emphasized the need to maintain and promote an environment conducive to the COC negotiations, and thus welcomed practical measures that could reduce tensions and the risk of accidents, misunderstandings and miscalculation.

France, Germany and the Untied Kingdom issued their Joint Statement on August 29, 2019, expressing their concerns on the situation in the East Sea.

They are concerned about the situation in the East Sea which could lead to insecurity and instability in the region.

The three countries called for steps and measures that reduce tensions and contribute to maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability and safety in the region, including as regards the rights of coastal states in their waters and the freedom and rights of navigation in and overflights above the East Sea, according to the Joint Statement.

"As State parties of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), France, Germany, and the United Kingdom underline their interest in the universal application of the Convention which sets out the comprehensive legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas including in the East Sea must be carried out and which provides the basis for national, regional and global co-operation in the maritime domain. They recall in this regard the Arbitration Award rendered under UNCLOS on 12 July 2016."

Furthermore, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom welcomed the on-going negotiations in view of achieving a rules-based, co-operative and effective Code of Conduct consistent with UNCLOS in the East Sea and encouraged progress towards its early conclusion.

US Department of State Spokesperson

In Bangkok, the Secretary (Mike Pompeo) participated in the ASEAN-U.S. Ministerial, the ASEAN Regional Forum Ministerial, the East Asia Summit Ministerial, and the Lower Mekong Initiative, which has just celebrated the tenth anniversary, said Morgan Ortagus, Spokesperson of the US Department of State on August 8, 2018.

The Secretary held very positive bilateral meetings with a variety of his counterparts, including leaders from Thailand, the Philippines, and India, she said.

He also participated in a trilateral meeting with foreign ministers of Japan and the Republic of Korea as well as a trilateral meeting with Australia and Japan, after which those three nations released a statement expressing serious concerns about negative developments in the East Sea, according to Ortagus.

Viet Nam and Australia issued Joint Statement on the occasion of the official visit to Viet Nam by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison from August 22-24.

In the statement, the Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison expressed “serious concerns” about developments in the East Sea, including land reclamation and militarization.

They also expressed concern about disruptive activities in relation to long-standing oil and gas projects in the East Sea while emphasizing the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight, compliance with international law and maintaining a rules-based order.

The two PMs called on all parties to exercise self-restraint and avoid actions that may further complicate the situation.

They also reaffirmed the need for states to resolve disputes peacefully, without the threat or use of force in accordance with international law, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The Prime Ministers underscored the importance of UNCLOS dispute settlement mechanisms and called upon the parties to respect and implement the decisions rendered by these mechanisms.

They reiterated the importance of the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).

The pair also called for any Code of Conduct to be fully consistent with international law, in particular UNCLOS, without prejudice to the interests of third parties or the rights of states under international law, and support existing inclusive regional architecture.

Viet Nam and Malaysia issued Joint Statement on the occasion of the official visit to Viet Nam by Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad from August 26-28.

Under the statement, both sides underlined the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security and the rule of law in the region, which includes the safety, security and freedom of navigation and over-flight in the East Sea and expressed serious concerns over recent developments in the East Sea.

The two sides agreed that disputes shall be resolved through peaceful means, including full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, without resorting to the threat or use of force, in accordance with the principles of international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.

Both Prime Ministers emphasized the importance of self-restraint, non-militarization and observance of international legal obligations in good faith, respect for sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the coastal states, and rule of law in accordance with the 1982 UNCLOS and avoidance of activities that may escalate tensions.

The two sides underlined their support for the full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) in its entirety and agreed to enhance efforts towards the early conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) that is effective, substantive, and consistent with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS/.

By Huong Giang

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