Nov 03, 2019 / 12:50

Hanoi pursues int’l law in settling South China Sea issues: Vietnam PM

The Hanoitimes - Peace and stability in the South China Sea remain fragile, requiring the settling based on international law.

Hanoi is determined to settle the South China Sea issues in accordance with international law, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at the 35th ASEAN Summit held in Bangkok on November 2.

 Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the 35th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok. Photo: VGP

The recent violations in the regional sea and within Vietnamese territorial waters have triggered concerns from all ASEAN state members, Phuc said in a statement, quoted by the government portal.

Therefore, the first and foremost condition for peace and stability is upholding international law, the PM said.

Security and stability in the South China Sea (SCS) remain fragile, requiring commitments and responsibilities of all nations in the region to ensure no recurrence of similar violations, he added.

The stability in the SCS has been threatened by Chinese militarization of structures in Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes and the deployment of a survey ship and armed escorts to Vietnam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf for more than three months starting July 3.

The SCS issue will feature in this summit and on which progress is far from certain.

At the previous ASEAN meetings, China has aligned itself with client states like Cambodia to bully and block reasonable discussion about its territorial ambitions.

In efforts to reduce tensions over Beijing’s behavior, ASEAN negotiators hope to achieve a “first reading” of a legally-binding code of conduct (COC) for the South China Sea that would provide some sort of framework for resolving disputes.

It’s not clear whether China will go along with such an initiative.