SINGAPORE – Việt Nam has stressed the need for ASEAN and China to implement the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CEUS) and operate a diplomatic hotline to settle problems at sea in an effective manner to avoid disputes from flaring up.
Addressing the fourth special discussion held in Singapore on Saturday on practical measures to prevent encounters at sea, the Deputy Minister of Public Security, Senior Lieutenant General Bùi Văn Nam, also said that a state must not find excuses to ignore requests sent through the hotline to settle incidents at sea.
Nam told the meeting, held as part of the 16th Shangri-La Dialogue, that the CUES must apply to all government vessels operating in the East Sea, including military and semi-military ships.
ASEAN and China should work together for the early formation of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) which is binding, comprehensive, practical and acts as an effective tool to prevent disputes and maintain peace, stability, navigation and over-flight security and safety, he said.
Meanwhile, all countries should foster co-operation in less sensitive areas at sea, including scientific research, maritime environment protection, natural disaster prevention and search and rescue operations.
They should also collaborate against terrorism, piracy, human trafficking and illegal migration, thus strengthening mutual understanding and minimising actions that may lead to misunderstanding and disputes, he said.
The enhancement of partnerships at sea must be in line with full and strict implementation of international law, especially the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS) and other regional agreements, he said.
He added that this should be done on the basis of respect for sovereignty and interest of other countries, ensuring the voluntary and responsible engagement of all sides for mutual interest and benefit.
Nam also said that the international community should consider the establishment of a mechanism to gather and connect articles in existing international conventions and supplementing new ones to build shared codes of conduct and make collective interventions when unexpected situations arise at sea.
A comprehensive legal framework will help improve responsibility to implement international legal regulations and reduce the risks of disputes at sea, he said.
Nam affirmed Viet Nam’s commitment to actively cooperate with ASEAN members and other states within and outside the region through regional and international forums such as the ASEAN, East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus, and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).
He said this would help build trust and realise preventive diplomatic measures to minimise risks of encounters and disputes at sea.
Việt Nam supports all initiatives and co-operation mechanisms for maintaining peace and stability, and for promoting the peaceful settlement of disputes at sea on the basis of international law, he reiterated.
The Deputy Minister further said that Viet Nam supports the implementation of co-operation initiatives and projects at sea based on observing relevant international law and agreements, respecting and harmonising the interests of all sides.
The nation also backs stepped-up information exchange and co-ordination between governments, international organisations, experts and scholars on the sea and ocean, he said.
Other participants also agreed that in order to handle disputes at sea, all parties should reach a joint perspective and not complicate the situation, and settle all issues through peaceful measures.
Earlier the same day, three special discussions were held on nuclear dangers in the region, new methods in security partnership and the defence implications of new technology. — VNS