Upholding the rule of law is fundamental to maintaining peace and security in the East Sea (South China Sea). — Photo laodong.com.vn
HÀ NỘI – Upholding the rule of law is fundamental to maintaining peace and security in the East Sea (South China Sea), said experts at a maritime workshop yesterday.
The international workshop, held in Hà Nội, saw the participation of some 70 legal experts and international affairs scholars from Việt Nam, Japan, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. Co-organised by the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (DAV), the Embassy of Japan and the British Embassy, the workshop was the first collaborative event between the three countries in efforts to exchange views and propose mechanisms for further co-operation based on international law.
The arbitral ruling on July 12 was deemed a landmark event on the way to resolve complicated disputes in the East Sea, even though China, unilaterally claiming more than 80 per cent of the busy sea lane via the so-called nine-dash-line, refused to either participate in or acknowledge the findings.
The ruling put the rising Asian power at a major legal disadvantage, especially over its land reclamation projects that stretch to more than 3,200 acres, according to the Pentagon. Yet it did not reduce the threats to the region in general.
“There are an increasing number of cases where interests of countries clash with each other. There is a growing concern about unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force”, Japanese Ambassador to Việt Nam Kunio Umeda said at the workshop.
“We also observe the change of leaders in the United States and the Philippines, which might change the game in the Asia-Pacific region”.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte carried out a spontaneous “China pivot” policy post-ruling to much of the regional observers’ surprise while the US President-elect Donald Trump is widely believed to be more reluctant to push for a stronger American presence in the Southeast Asian region.
“At this time, the international community is facing the hard question of whether they want peace, stability and prosperity, or turbulence, instability and misery?” said the Institute for East Sea Studies Director General Nguyễn Trường Giang.
“If we want peace, stability and prosperity, we need to uphold the rule of law and we have to respect international law”. – VNS