The Hanoitimes - The EU is committed to maritime security and cooperation, as well as the freedom of navigation and overflight, in the interest of all states.
The European Union (EU) has raised voice over escalating tensions in the South China Sea in which China intruded into Vietnamese waters to harass Vietnam’s longstanding oil activities within Vietnamese exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Unilateral actions during the past weeks in the South China Sea have resulted in mounting tensions and a deterioration of the maritime security environment which represents a serious threat to the peaceful economic development of the region, according to the EU’s Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.
Maja Kocijancic, the EU’s Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations. Photo: CNA
It is crucial for all parties in the region to exercise self-restraint, take concrete steps towards reverting to the status quo ante, refrain from militarizing the region and resolve disputes through peaceful means in accordance with international law, notably the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the spokesperson said in a statement.
“The parties could also seek third party assistance in the form of mediation or arbitration to facilitate the settlement of their respective claims, if deemed useful,” the statement noted.
The EU will continue to fully support regional ASEAN-led processes, in order to further promote a rules-based regional and international order, to consolidate multilateral cooperation, as well as closer cooperation with third parties. We are looking forward to a swift conclusion, in a transparent manner, of the talks on an effective, substantive and legally binding 'Code of Conduct', it said.
The EU is committed to the legal order for the seas and oceans based upon international law, maritime security and cooperation, as well as the freedom of navigation and overflight, in the interest of all states, according to the statement.
Vietnam-EU security cooperation
Earlier this month, Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission visited Vietnam, discussing the development of a defense and security cooperation partnership.
The partnership comes in a broader context where Vietnam is looking to strengthen its ties with major powers and the EU is eyeing a stronger security role in the Asia-Pacific.
The two sides “have concluded negotiations of an agreement enabling Vietnam to participate in and contribute to European Union crisis management operations, which play a key role in peace-keeping, conflict prevention and strengthening international security,” Federica Mogherini said in remarks at the meeting with Vietnam’s Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh in Hanoi earlier this month.
Significantly, they also underscored the wider context for their deepening security partnership, including the shared challenge of cyber security and freedom of navigation – a point that Mogherini specifically referred to in her press conference with Minh in the wake of the recent tensions between Hanoi and Beijing in the South China Sea.
“Mr Minister, let me reassure you that the European Union fully shares your positions and your concerns when it comes to the situation and the increasing tensions in the South China Sea,” Mogherini emphasized.
“As the European Union, we always stand for the freedom of navigation and overflight, which is in the interest of all states,” she said.