Deputy Spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry Ngô Toàn Thắng. VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI – Việt Nam fulfilled its role well as the UN Security Council (UNSC) President in January, actively contributing to peace, stability, co-operation and development in the region and the world at large.
Deputy Spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry Ngô Toàn Thắng made the statement at the ministry’s regular press conference yesterday.
Thắng said the United Nations Secretariat on April 15 announced Việt Nam’s report on the UNSC presidency month (Report No S/2020/258).
The report reviews all the activities Việt Nam carried out in January when it held the UNSC presidency, he said, noting that the completion of the report was earlier than usual.
According to the official, taking the rotary presidency of the UNSC in the first month of the year marking the 75th anniversary of the UN Charter, Việt Nam selected a priority theme of January as “Upholding the UN Charter to Maintain International Peace and Security”. A ministerial debate chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh on this theme attracted 111 speeches, the highest number in the history of UN open debates. These included speeches by the UN Secretary-General, representatives of 109 member countries, and UN observers.
Việt Nam also launched an initiative to hold the first meeting at the UNSC on cooperation between the UN and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to promote comprehensive and effective co-operation between the two organisations. The meeting focused on priority areas such as peaceful settlement of disputes, preventive diplomacy, disarmament, peacekeeping, counter-terrorism, maritime co-operation and security.
During the month under the presidency of Việt Nam, the UNSC held 30 official activities, including two open debates, eight sessions to listen to reports and four sessions to approve resolutions, which were broadcast live on the UN’s media system.
As UNSC president, Việt Nam also held an international press conference and multiple press briefings on the council’s work.
China’s circulation of a number of diplomatic notes at the UN that raise unreasonable sovereignty claims over Việt Nam’s Hoàng Sa (Paracel) and Trường Sa (Spratly) archipelagos as well as maritime claims in the East Sea runs counter to the provisions of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Thắng said.
In face of this, Việt Nam on March 30 circulated a note to the UN to reject China’s claims as mentioned in many documents sent to the UN and related international agencies, he said, adding that Việt Nam has also contacted China to strongly affirm its consistent stance and reject China’s wrongful viewpoint.
The official was answering reporters’ queries about Việt Nam’s response to China’s April 17 sending of a note to the UN stating sovereignty claims over the East Sea.
As stated at the press briefing on April 9, Việt Nam’s sending of diplomatic notes is a normal act to manifest its stance and to safeguard its legal and legitimate rights and interests, he said.
Việt Nam circulated a note on April 10 to confirm its stance on the East Sea issue with other parties concerned.
According to the official, Việt Nam has repeatedly said it has sufficient historical evidence and legal basis to assert its sovereignty over the Hoàng Sa and Trường Sa archipelagos in accordance with international law.
As a littoral state, Việt Nam is entitled to fully enjoy the waters in the East Sea determined on the basis of the UNCLOS, he said.
“All the maritime claims which are contrary to the provisions of the UNCLOS and infringe upon Việt Nam's sovereignty, sovereign right and jurisdiction over its waters are null and void,” he said.
Việt Nam believes that all countries have common duties and interests in respecting the fundamental principles of international law, including the principle of national sovereignty equality, restraint from the use or threat to use of force in international relations against the territorial integrity of other countries, promoting friendliness, and settling international disputes through peaceful means, Thắng said.
In this spirit, he highlighted that Việt Nam stands ready to resolve disputes with parties concerned through negotiations as well as other peaceful measures, including those specified in the UNCLOS.
Regarding China's issuance of the so-called “standard names” for 80 entities in the East Sea, Thang stated Việt Nam has said many times that it has sufficient historical evidence and legal foundation to assert its sovereignty over the Hoàng Sa and Trường Sa archipelagos, in line with international law, and at the same time has national sovereign right and jurisdiction over the waters established in accordance with the UNCLOS.
“All the acts harmful to Việt Nam's sovereignty over the Hoàng Sa and Trường Sa archipelagos, sovereign right and jurisdiction over its waters are void and unrecognised, and Việt Nam resolutely protests such acts,” he said.
Foreign Ministry deputy spokesman Thắng said that the 2019 World Press Freedom Index from Reporters Without Borders (RSF) that ranks Việt Nam in 176th place out of the 180 countries is untrustworthy and unpersuasive.
During the ministry’s regular press conference, Thắng said it is not the first time the RSF has published reports based on untruthful, groundless, and ill-intentioned information.
The rankings are based on its own criteria without understanding the circumstances and conditions in each country, he stressed.
In Việt Nam, the right to free speech and a free press are stipulated in the 2013 Constitution and relevant laws. The Vietnamese media plays an important role in protecting the interests of the society and freedom of the people, contributing to the State’s policy and law enforcement, the official added.
The media has helped uncover and fight corruption and questionable behaviour, promptly covered pressing issues around the country, and most notably ensured correct information regarding COVID-19 reaches the public.
The public is able to access media channels to exercise their rights and express their opinions regarding the State’s legal policies, he said.
Việt Nam strictly bans all cyber attacks against organisations and individuals in any form, said the Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Spokesman Thắng at the ministry’s regular press conference on Thursday.
Responding to reporters’ queries about the US cyber security firm FireEye’s statement that Việt Nam assisted the APT32 hacker group targeting international government units and businesses, Thắng said cyber attacks and security threats should be strictly condemned and punished in line with law.
He added that the Vietnamese National Assembly ratified the Law on Cyber Security and is completing legal documents to prevent attacks.
Việt Nam is ready to partner with the international community to combat this in any form, he said. – VNS