|High senior officials from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China take group photo at the 17th senior officials’ meeting (SOM) on the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties on the East Sea (DOC) in Hangzhou, China, on Friday and Saturday. — VNA/VNS Photo Lương Tuấn|
Beforehand, the ASEAN-China joint working group on the implementation of the DOC met on Thursday and Friday to look into the situation on the East Sea, review the implementation of the DOC and continue negotiations on the Code of Conduct on the East Sea (COC).
Addressing the meeting, head of the Vietnamese delegation Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyễn Quốc Dũng acknowledged the progress made in the implementation of the COC and negotiations for the COC.
At the same time, he shared Vietnam’s concerns about complications in the East Sea caused by strategic competition among powers and unilateral actions that ran counter to international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, particularly military actions, which have undermined trust, hindered the maintenance of peace and stability, and affected negotiations on the COC.
The Vietnamese delegate emphasized the East Sea was also facing other challenges such as illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU fishing), pollution and plastic waste.
He called on countries to uphold their sense of responsibility and join hands to fully implement the DOC, refrain from militarisation or making moves that could further complicate the situation, and promote co-operation to handle challenges.
The Deputy FM informed the meeting that Việt Nam would organize a seminar within the framework of the DOC on the fair and humane treatment of fishermen.
Regarding the COC, Deputy FM Dũng urged ASEAN and China to achieve an effective code of conduct that was in line with international law, including the internationally recognized UNCLOS. He added that Việt Nam would host the 18th ASEAN-China SOM on the implementation of the DOC in the latter half of 2019.
At the meeting, many countries noted that the complicated situation on the East Sea had its roots based in recent developments in the waters, which increased tensions, undermined trust and posed risks to peace and stability.
The countries reiterated the importance of ensuring peace, stability, and security, and safety and freedom of navigation and overflight on the East Sea. They committed themselves to the full and effective implementation of the DOC, especially self-restraint, and to co-operate on trust building. The meeting approved Vietnam’s proposal on organising a seminar on the fair and humane treatment of fishermen.
The meeting recognised the work of the ASEAN-China joint working group and progress in the negotiations on the COC, saying the negotiations were following the roadmap towards completing the first round of review ahead of the ASEAN-China Post Ministerial Conference slated for the end of July and early August this year in Bangkok, Thailand.
The countries agreed to keep up the pace of negotiations and make joint efforts towards building a result-oriented, effective COC in accordance with international law.
They shared the view that during the process, all sides should exercise self-restraint and maintain an environment favourable for building the COC. — VNS