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Vietnam says COC in East Sea must be substantive

Updated at Friday, 23 Nov 2018, 10:47
The Hanoitimes - The Vietnamese vice spokeswoman affirmed that the maintenance of peace, security, and freedom of sea and air navigation in South China Sea, more known as the East Sea in Vietnam, is in the interests and obligations of both ASEAN and China.
A spokesperson of Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has said that negotiations of a code of conduct (COC) in the South China Sea, which is referred to as the East Sea in Vietnam, between the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) must be substantive and effective.  
 
Illustrative photo
Illustrative photo
“The importance is that the COC must be substantive and be in line with the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 1982, truly contributing to peace, stability, and freedom of sea and air navigation in the East Sea and in the region," the MOFA’s Vice Spokesperson Nguyen Phuong Tra said at a press conference on November 22. 

Tra said in a statement answering the question of domestic news website VnExpress on China setting a timeframe to finish the negotiations of COC in three years following Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s speech delivered in Singapore on November 13. 

She affirmed that the maintenance of peace, security, and freedom of sea and air navigation in the East Sea is in the interests and obligations of both ASEAN and China. 

ASEAN and China signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in 2002. The two sides kicked off negotiations of COC in 2013 and adopted a framework on COC in August 2017 which is expected to help keep all parties restrained in activities in the East Sea to avoid escalating tension. 

China, with its self-claimed nine-dash line, declares sovereignty over the majority of the East Sea despite strong protest from claimants including Vietnam, the Philippines, and Taiwan. 

In the 33rd ASEAN Summit 2018 held in Singapore in mid-November, US Vice President Mike Pence said the South China Sea belongs to no nation and countries in the region “must be able to explore and develop their own resources and navigate their own waters.”
Linh Pham
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