Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyễn Quốc Dũng speaks at a ceremony in Hà Nội on Thursday to mark the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and Việt Nam’s membership of the treaty. — VNA/VNS Photo Dương Giang
HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a ceremony in Hà Nội on Thursday to mark the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and Việt Nam’s membership of the treaty.
The event was attended by nearly 200 delegates from ministries and sectors, foreign ambassadors, representatives of diplomatic corps in Hanoi, along with more than 100 others from 22 members of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) who took part in the ARF workshop on implementing the UNCLOS and other instruments to address maritime issues in Hà Nội on November 13-14.
The UNCLOS was adopted on December 10, 1982 and took effect on November 16, 1994. Việt Nam was one of the first 107 countries to sign and ratify the convention.
Addressing the ceremony, Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyễn Quốc Dũng underlined that seas and oceans not only connect continents but are also sources of livelihoods and the space for activities and interaction among more than 200 countries around the globe.
Dũng noted building a legal document to resolve all issues relating to the law of the sea and establishing a legal order for the seas and oceans were vital and also the aspiration of all nations as shown in the preamble of the UNCLOS.
"Covering all activities on the seas and oceans, the UNCLOS is considered a constitution for the seas and oceans and serves as the legal foundation for all sea-related activities at the national, regional and global levels," Dũng said, adding that 168 countries had joined this convention so far, and almost all its regulations had become international practices.
According to the official, the UNCLOS has become a solid international legal basis to define the rights, obligations and responsibilities of coastal countries, and to deal with issues related to the seas and oceans.
Dũng said over the last 25 years, Việt Nam had respected the guidelines and objectives of the UNCLOS while making efforts to enforce the convention in the East Sea.
The country had aligned its legal system on the management and use of the sea, especially the 2012 Law of the Sea, with the UNCLOS. Besides, it had handled sea-related differences by peaceful means and in line with international law, including the UNCLOS.
Under this policy, Việt Nam had held negotiations on and signed treaties on maritime delimitation with neighbouring countries like Thailand, China and Indonesia. It was also promoting talks on the delimitation of the sea area beyond the mouth of the Gulf of Tonkin with China, the delimitation of the exclusive economic zone with Indonesia, and the maritime delimitation with other neighbours, he said.
Dũng added the country had stepped up maritime co-operation in a diverse and substantive manner so as to optimise the sea’s potential and deal with emerging challenges and create a peaceful and stable environment in the East Sea.
He pointed out many recent complex developments in the East Sea that seriously violated the rights of Việt Nam and other regional countries which are stipulated in the UNCLOS.
Việt Nam had persistently respected and complied with the UNCLOS, respected diplomatic and legal processes, and not wrongly interpreted or intentionally played down the significance and role of the convention, he stressed, adding that when there are differences relating to the interpretation and application of the UNCLOS, concerned parties need to solve those issues via negotiations or other peaceful measures in line with international law, including the UNCLOS.
"When differences haven’t been resolved, relevant parties need to respect and fully implement the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC); exercise self-restraint; not take unilateral actions that may complicate the situation, elevate tensions or jeopardise regional peace and stability; and take part in negotiations in a constructive manner to soon finalise an efficient and practical Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in conformity with the UNCLOS," Dũng said. — VNS