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Viet Nam reaffirms support for UN Convention on Law of Sea

Update: December, 11/2012 - 09:19

HA NOI (VNS)— Deputy Foreign Minister Ho Xuan Son has stressed the significance of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in an article on the occasion of the convention's 30th anniversary, which fell yesterday.

Viet Nam was among 107 countries that signed the convention.

Son, who is also Chairman of the Foreign Ministry's National Boundary Commission, said that the convention's membership was of great significance to Viet Nam, as it is an international legal foundation recognising that the country is entitled to 12 nautical miles of territorial waters, an exclusive economic zone 200 nautical miles wide and a continental shelf of at least 200 nautical miles which can be extended to 350 nautical miles as measured from the baseline.

The document also serves as the international legal foundation for the demarcation of overlapping sea areas between Viet Nam and other East Sea countries, contributing to creating an environment of peace, stability, co-operation and development in the region. Based on the Convention, Viet Nam conducted negotiations and demarcated maritime boundaries with Thailand in 1997, established exclusive economic zones and continental shelves in the Bac Bo (Tonkin) Gulf with China in 2000, and demarcated the boundary on the continental shelf with Indonesia in 2003.

Eighteen years after ratifying the convention, the Vietnamese legislature, 13th tenure, passed the Law of the Sea of Viet Nam at its third session on June 21, 2012. For the first time in history, Viet Nam 's Law of the Sea has fully stipulated the legal status of seas and islands belonging to Viet Nam, sovereignty rights and jurisdiction in line with the contents of UNCLOS 1982.

The Law of the Sea of Viet Nam provides an important foundation for the uniform management, use, protection and development of the marine-based economy.

The adoption of the law has shown to the world that Viet Nam is a responsible member of the international community that always abides by and respects international law. It also demonstrates the Vietnamese State's determination to strive for peace, stability, co-operation and development in the region and the world.

Amid the complicated changes in the East Sea in recent years, the Vietnamese Party and State follow the policy of respecting and abiding by the Convention, using it to settle disputes in the East Sea by peaceful means on the basis of respecting independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as the interests of related nations.

While seeking a basic long-term solution to the East Sea issue, concerned parties need to restrain themselves and refrain from any move that can further complicate the issue, in line with the Convention's stipulation.

Deputy Minister Son reiterated that Viet Nam pursued a consistent foreign policy of independence, self-control, diversification and multilateralisation of relations, defending sovereignty over seas and islands by collective power while trying to settle the East Sea dispute and emerging issues at sea by peaceful means in line with international law, especially the 1982 UNCLOS.

The Convention covers all issues related to territorial waters of coastal countries as well as the use and exploitation of international waters and ocean beds.

Referred to as a Constitution for the Oceans, regulations in the Convention are the outcome of co-operation, struggle, compromise and construction over many years between countries all over the world with different socio-economic regimes, economic backgrounds and legal perspectives. — VNS

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