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Escalating East Sea disputes ‘have become a global issue'

Update: November, 22/2012 - 09:39

HCM CITY (VNS)— The East Sea disputes have escalated far beyond regional concerns and become major international issues, a scientific workshop heard in HCM City yesterday.

At its closing session, the fourth "East Sea: co-operation for regional security and development" international scientific workshop was told: "The East Sea disputes seem to put involved countries on a crisis and the war is ready to occur if one of them takes a wrong calculation," by Dr. Probal Ghosh, a senior fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in India.

He warned that military conflicts in the East Sea would expand to other seas around the world.

"We are worrying about natural resource activities, including oil and fish exploitation, as well as international sea routes through the area," he added.

A new dialogue system among involved nations and other countries who have indirect interests in the sea should be set up, Professor Masahiro Akiyama from the Japan Ocean Policy Research Foundation, suggested.

Representatives from the European Union, Russia and South Korea expressed desires for deeper involvement in solving the East Sea disputes.

Ambassador Rodolfo C. Severino, head of the ASEAN Studies Centre, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, stressed that the Code of Conduct for the East Sea should be signed with a spirit of self-restraint and co-operation, while involved nations must avoid using threats of/or violence.

Professor Ngo Vinh Long, Faculty of History at the USA's University of Maine, suggested each country should re-affirm its exclusive economic zones, negotiate rights in overlapping regions and convince China to give up its nine-dash line in East Sea, as well as fairly distribute natural resources.

After three working days, the workshop produced eight petitions for solving the East Sea disputes, including: encouraging multilateral maritime coalition among sensible like-minded countries; carefully calibrating national interests, taking into account the interests of other countries and the international community; fostering better co-ordination between domestic actors on the East Sea issues.

The workshop called for enhanced transparency on military modernisation and confidence-building measures among navies/civilian fleets; bringing national claims in line with international law and conducting joint research to clarify the legal status of land features; and exercising self-restraint and promoting co-operation in the spirit of equity and mutual trust.

Participants called all involved nations to play an active role in the management of disputes and preservation of peace in the region; and to confirm support for a Code of Conduct in the East Sea.

Delivering his closing speech, Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, president of the Diplomat Academy of Viet Nam said: "The workshop has clarified disputes based on the International Sea Law 1982 and called for stronger co-operation, negotiation, no violence or threats to use violence, as well as an abidance of the Declaration of Conduct of the parties in the East Sea (DOC)."

"The most important petition of the workshop is to build the belief to each other that here is the beginning of a long and hard journey to make the East Sea a friendly, stable, co-operative and peaceful region."

Over 180 international experts, scientists, diplomats from 27 nations around the world took part in the conference. — VNS

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