UN member states highlight importance of 1982 UNCLOS

December 09, 2020 - 11:49
Vietnamese ambassador to the UN expressed concern about some recent incidents in the South China Sea which have seriously infringed Việt Nam’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction.


UN General Assembly’s 75th session on 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). — Photo from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

HÀ NỘI — Countries participating in a plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly’s 75th session on Tuesday highlighted the importance of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as the international legal framework regulating all activities in the seas and oceans.

At the event, held at the UN headquarters in New York, representatives of UN member states highlighted the universal, consistent, and comprehensive values of the 1982 UNCLOS while pointing out the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts on the UN and agencies’ activities related to oceans and the law of the sea as well as on fundamental rights of seafarers.

They affirmed the commitment to promote negotiations on legally binding documents on biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction and legal implications of the sea-level rise, and to boost the development of the marine economy and the conservation of marine resources so as to contribute to the realisation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Particularly, the US, the UK, Germany, Japan, and Australia publicly mentioned disputes in the East Sea, voicing their concerns over legal claims in the waters.

They emphasised that the establishment of historic rights claims and historic claims on marine resources, the specification of straight archipelagic baselines, and the regime of islands must be in conformity with the UNCLOS.

They also underlined the need to ensure freedom of navigation in the East Sea and the obligation to peacefully resolve international disputes in line with the UNCLOS.

Speaking at the meeting, Ambassador Đặng Đình Quý, head of Việt Nam’s permanent mission to the UN, affirmed that Việt Nam attached importance to the convention’s universal, consistent, and comprehensive values.

The country appreciated contributions by the agencies set up under the UNCLOS to promoting a legal order for the seas and oceans, he said, noting that it also supported the UN General Assembly to create conditions for members of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf to work online with guaranteed security.

Việt Nam also welcomed the second world ocean assessment report, which states that countries must perform all the obligations relevant to marine environment protection in accordance with the UNCLOS.

Regarding the South China Sea situation (known in Việt Nam as the East Sea), Quý reiterated Việt Nam’s consistent stance that all disputes must be settled by peaceful means on the basis of international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, with respect for diplomatic and legal processes and without using force or threatening to use force.

He expressed concern about some recent incidents in the East Sea which have seriously infringed Việt Nam’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction.

The ambassador called on related parties to exercise self-restraint while not carrying out militarisation or conducting activities that complicate the situation, escalate disputes, affect the safety and security of navigation and overflight in the East Sea, or jeopardise peace and stability in the region.

All parties must fully implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and soon finalise a substantive and efficient code of conduct that is in line with the UNCLOS, Quý added.

Concluding the meeting, the 75th session of the UN General Assembly adopted an annual resolution on sustainable fisheries. Meanwhile, a resolution on oceans and the law of the sea will be considered later. — VNS