|Participants attending the virtual meeting held on Monday to mark the 20th anniversary of the DOC. — VNA/VNS Photo|
BEIJING — The Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) has contributed to promoting peace, trust and cooperation between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China, former Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyễn Dy Niên told a conference held by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday.
Organised for the 20th anniversary of the DOC, the virtual event brought together incumbent and former Foreign Ministers of ASEAN member states, including those who were at the signing of the document in 2002, as well as a number of scholars from both sides.
Representatives from Việt Nam also included Ambassador to China Phạm Sao Mai and Vice Chairman of the National Boundary Commission under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nguyễn Mạnh Đông.
The event featured three sessions discussing the historic moment of the signing, the results and prospects for the DOC implementation, and the progress and direction for consultations on a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) between ASEAN and China.
In his remarks, Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi saw peace and stability in the East Sea as a prerequisite for development in the region.
He proposed concerned parties continue maintaining peace and cooperation at sea and promoting talks for the early finalisation of a practical and effective COC in line with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to build it into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.
Niên emphasised the DOC was the first important document signed between ASEAN and a partner country. It reaffirmed respect and commitment of the parties to freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea and to peacefully settling disputes in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, he said.
Incumbent FMs from ASEAN member states held that ASEAN and China must continue fully implementing the DOC and provide an enabling environment for the talks on the COC; while their predecessors recalled the necessity of the DOC and the process towards its signing two decades ago and reiterated its crucial role in maintaining regional peace, security, stability, cooperation and prosperity.
Delegates held that the results of COC negotiations have been fairly positive and substantive so far and that both sides must practise self-restraint, avoid any actions that may complicate the situation, and respect rights and interests of concerned parties in accordance with international law, particularly the 1982 UNCLOS. — VNS