Jun 03, 2019 / 17:07

Solving maritime disputes requires multilateral cooperation, Hanoi says

The Hanoitimes - Hanoi’s stance on multi-sided solutions for multiple-stakeholder issues remains persistent.

Vietnam calls for the cooperation of all related stakeholders in the South China Sea in restraining risks and conflicts, Vietnamese Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich has said at the 18th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. 
Vietnamese Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich at the Shangri-La Dialogue. Photo: AFP
Vietnamese Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich at the Shangri-La Dialogue. Photo: AFP
Vietnam has been cooperating with China and relevant parties to settle the maritime issues in a peaceful manner and basing on the international treaties, Lich said in a speech delivered at the annual defense and security event which marks the largest number of high-ranking defense and diplomatic officials and experts from 56 countries. 

Hanoi’s stance on multisided solutions for multiple-stakeholder issues remains persistent to ensure interests of all related parties and the region as a whole, Lich said, noting that settling the South China Sea disputes should be in the spirit of partnership and for the sake of the community. 

Any intention to dominate others, restrain others, and win over others’ benefits which might lead to tensions, disputes, and wars must be repelled, Lich said. Only respecting others’ interests and sovereignty would help tackle problems, he added. 

In his speech, Lich highlighted Vietnam’s defense targets cover the protection of its sovereignty and national interests, the self-defense, and the peaceful settlement of disputes. 

Notably, the Vietnamese defense chief invoked Vietnam’s defense capability. 

Vietnamese Deputy Defense Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh. Photo: QDND
Vietnamese Deputy Defense Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh. Photo: QDND
On this occasion, Vietnamese Deputy Defense Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh told local media that the South China Sea disputes could not be solved on the bilateral basis if the issues are of multilateral concern. 

Vietnam’s measures and dimensions have caught international attention and support as the approaches are for the sake of relevant stakeholders, Vinh said. 

Commenting on the two powers’ speeches (the US and China), Vinh said that the statements by Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Chinese National Defense Minister Wei Fenghe were in the spotlights at the event but their tones were not so tense, showing some restraints which each country want to make for their own sake on the international issues. 

Wait and see Vietnam’s defense role in ASEAN chairmanship 

Vietnam is scheduled to take the ASEAN Chairmanship in 2020 which includes the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) – the highest defense consultative and cooperative mechanism in ASEAN and the ASEAN Defense Minister’s Meeting-Plus (ADMM+) – a platform for ASEAN and its eight Dialogue Partners (Australia, China, Japan, India, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the US) to strengthen security and defense cooperation for peace, stability, and development in the region. 

The event is expected to issue Hanoi Joint Statement reached by defense ministers in enhancing the defense cooperation among ten ASEAN states, aiming to boost the solidarity in the ASEAN in settling regional issues, Vinh said. 

Vietnam is expected to release the Asia-Pacific strategic vision within the ADMM+ which covers security issues in the 2010-2020 period and the next decade. 

Vietnam is seeking to make the ADMM and the ADMM+ substantive. It means that big countries would be more responsible for the regional peace and stability, Vinh added.

Vinh talked about the possibility of adding some more members to the ADMM+, saying that the platform should be open. The countries in the standby list include the UK, France, the EU, Canada, and Mongolia.